Health Ministry vows to take legal action against El Nadeem Centre

Daily News Egypt
5 Min Read
El Nadeem Centre solidarity conference

The Health Ministry declared Tuesday that it will take legal action against El Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence for refusing to follow the closure order.

The ministry said it previously sent a letter to centre about its violations, according to ministry spokesperson Khaled El-Maghed.

The ministry statement comes in response to the centre’s staff members’ refusal to leave the office after Egyptian officials’ came to their office on Tuesday and attempted to forcibly close the centre.

Following the ministry’s statement, El Nadeem director Aida Seif El-Dawla said in a Facebook post that the ministry did not provide any information about the centre’s purported violations that prompted the order.

She explained that the centre previously sent a letter to the ministry enquiring as to the violations, and the ministry responded that El Nadeem changed the nature of its work from providing rehabilitation to documenting torture without informing the ministry.

El Nadeem responded that centre’s work is offering psychological support for victims of violence and torture, to which the ministry did not respond.

The ministry statement and the attempt to close the centre has sparked outrage amongst rights groups, activists and public figures.

Lawyer and National Council of Human Rights (NCHR) member Ragia Omran said the closure order is another step that indicated the “state’s fear of civil society and human rights advocators, and critics of government human rights violations, both locally and internationally”.

She further noted that the decision came one day after the arrest warrant issued for Press Syndicate leader Khaled El-Balshy, and amid the ongoing investigation of the Italian student Giulio Regeni’s death and apparent torture.

“Human rights advocators and the civil society members are not welcomed and wanted in the country,” Omran noted.

Hafez Abu Saeda, the Head of Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR), said the closure order marks an escalatory step against civil society, which he described as unjustified. He further noted that the centre has an extensive record in treating victims of human rights violations.

He added that the country should make efforts to welcome organisations working to confront torture and support them, instead of imposing restrictions. Abu Saeda called on the appeals centre in the administrative court re to appeal the order since it represents violations on rights groups work.

Furthermore, the spokesperson of the Strong Egypt Party (SEP), headed by former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, announced the party’s full solidarity with El Nadeem Centre. The spokesperson further described the closure order as a “way to silence every voice speaking against the interior ministry’s violations, [ranging] from enforced disappearance to torture”.

Secretary-General of the Doctors Syndicate Mona Mina similarly expressed “full solidarity for El-Nadeem, which has a great professional and humane message in support of violence victims”.

The syndicate itself has been embroiled in a long-standing dispute with the Health Ministry, which peaked after two doctors were assaulted in February at Matariya Teaching Hospital.

The syndicate held a general assembly and demonstration in response to the incident, which drew thousands of doctors in an unprecedented show of unity within the syndicate. The general assembly concluded with a call for the dismissal of the health minister for failing to protect doctors, among other demands.

Following Tuesday’s closure attempt against El Nadeem, social media users launched a hashtag expressing their rejection of the closure order or any legal actions against the centre.

Despite ongoing threats and receiving the first closure order in February, El Nadeem has maintained its activities. The centre issued its monthly report on human rights violations by security forces against citizens, especially inside detention places in late February and March on social media websites.

El Nadeem Centre was founded in 1993, and was licensed by the Doctors Syndicate and the Health Ministry.

Share This Article
Leave a comment