ESCR-Net Board stands in solidarity with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

We celebrate the recent release of our dear friends, Mohamed Basheer, Karim Ennarah and Gasser Abdel-Razek from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), as well as the widespread solidarity of civil society organizations[1] and international human rights experts,[2] underlining the admiration that the work of EIPR enjoys globally. Aware of open charges and asset freezes facing EIPR team members and the ongoing imprisonment of Patrick Zaki, the Board of ESCR-Net - International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) expresses our continued solidarity with EIPR and deep appreciation for their work. EIPR is a key member of ESCR-Net and has taken up leadership roles across the Network over more than a decade.

ESCR-Net is the largest global network of NGOs, social movements and advocates devoted to achieving economic, social, cultural and environmental justice through human rights, consisting of over 280 organizational and individual members in 75 countries. The ESCR-Net Board is elected from and by members, with representatives from each region of the world.

From 2009-2015, Hossam Bahgat, then Executive Director and Founder of EIPR, was elected by fellow members to two consecutive terms on the ESCR-Net Board, serving as Board Chair from 2013-2015. With his leadership, ESCR-Net strengthened cross-regional solidarity and learning, expanded its membership, and became increasingly effective in its collective advocacy for human rights in multiple regional and international spaces. He supported ESCR-Net to begin consistently working in Arabic and French, in addition to Spanish and English, and strengthened the membership of ESCR-Net in the Middle East and North Africa. He remains a model for us in his clear commitments to justice and equality, tireless efforts to advance human rights, and solidarity with fellow human rights defenders and communities around the world.

Over the past several years, EIPR has continued to play vital roles in advancing human rights in Egypt, regionally and globally. Fellow ESCR-Net members have elected EIPR staff to leadership in the Women and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Working Group, which has in turn taken up issues of women care and informal workers and advocated for the rights of women in relation to housing and land. EIPR staff have guided collective learning and advocacy related to economic policy and human rights, as ESCR-Net has elevated human rights-based and sustainable alternatives to the dominant model of development and deepened a critique of colonial and imperial legacies that continue to shape global inequalities. Over the years, many members of ESCR-Net have come to know and appreciate Patrick Zaki, Mohamed Basheer and Karim Ennarah.

Gasser Abdel-Razek serves on the Advisory Group of ESCR-Net’s System of Solidarity. In this role, he has guided collective responses to threats facing human rights defenders and communities around the world, reinforcing the importance of taking up their wider demands for economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. Gasser has also joined fellow members from Guatemala, the Philippines, Liberia, Mexico, South Africa and beyond in pointing to the longstanding structural injustices that perpetuate and rely on violence and undermine human rights in every region.

For many ESCR-Net members, Gasser, Hossam and the wider EIPR team are also dear friends, trusted mentors and inspiring models of creative and committed efforts to realize human rights. As EIPR has stood in solidarity with us, we are standing in solidarity with them, as friends and fellow advocates for a world in which all of us enjoy our economic, civil, social, political, environmental and cultural rights. We are very pleased that Mohamed Basheer, Karim Ennarah and Gasser Abdel-Razek are free from prison. We trust that Patrick Zaki will soon be free and with his family again. Likewise, we hope that all Egyptian human rights defenders will enjoy the freedom to carry out their vital work.

In solidarity,

Fernanda Hopenhaym, Chair, Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research, Mexico

Priyanthi Fernando, Secretary, International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific, Malaysia

Ryan Schlief, Treasurer, International Accountability Project, USA

Maha Abdallah, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Tunisia

Binota Moy Dhamai, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, Thailand

Irene Escorihuela Blasco, Observatori DESC, Spain

S'bu Zikode, Abahlali baseMjondolo, South Africa

Chris Grove, ESCR-Net (ex officio)

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