The World Movement for Democracy is gravely concerned to learn about the forced disappearance of Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, the head of the housing rights program at a human rights law firm based in Cairo, Egypt. On June 12, 2019, Ibrahim Ezz El-Din was reportedly arrested on his way home from work in Cairo’s Mokattam neighborhood. However, the Mokattam police station denies detaining Ezz El-Din, and his current whereabouts are unknown.
Ibrahim Ezz El-Din is an architect who focuses on forced evictions and urban planning. Ezz El-Din has been critical of the Egyptian government’s investment in the new administrative capital, arguing that this money would have been better spent on improving water sanitation and housing developments.
His forced disappearance follows a wave of reprisals by the Egyptian authorities against human rights defenders and lawyers working on the right to housing, after the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, Leilani Farha, visited the country from September 24 to October 3, 2018. Human rights defenders and lawyers who met with Farha subsequently reported being followed or summoned for interrogations by the police, receiving anonymous and threatening phone calls, or being forcibly evicted from their homes. It is unclear whether Ezz El-Din’s disappearance is related to these cases. However, forced disappearances of human rights defenders and government critics are well documented.
Call for Action
The World Movement for Democracy joins the call, as expressed by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, on authorities in Egypt to:
- Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, as well as that of all human rights defenders in Egypt;
- Immediately disclose Ibrahim Ezz El-Din’s whereabouts and release him immediately and unconditionally from arbitrary detention;
- Guarantee Ibrahim Ezz El-Din unhindered access to a lawyer of his choice and his family members;
- Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, as well as against all human rights defenders in Egypt and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;
- Conform in all circumstances to the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2;
Respect human rights and fundamental freedoms under all circumstances, in accordance with the international human rights instruments ratified by Egypt.
We reiterate the need for Ezz El-Din’s immediate release and stand in solidarity with him and his family in the face of this ordeal. Join us in calling on the government of Egypt to immediately and unconditionally disclose his whereabouts. Share this Alert on Twitter and Facebook with a call to #SetThemFree.