Press Release

10 June 1997

Violating academic freedom and the right to form associations:

Governor dissolves Mansoura's Faculty Members Club board of directors

The Center for Human Rights Legal Aid expresses its deep concern over the Egyptian authorities' decision to dissolve Mansoura University's Faculty Members Club and appoint a temporary board to manage the club for one year.

This measure was taken in accordance with an order issued by the governor of Daqhaliya on June 3, 1997, under the Associations Law (Law 32/1964), which allows the authorities to dissolve the board of any association and appoint a new one should the board violate any of the rules laid down by the law or the association's system. This can be done without referring to the relevant judicial body to investigate any violations committed by the association.

The Center considers such a measure a blatant violation of academic freedom and the right of academic groups to form associations. It also represents an abrogation of the authority of the association's general board to choose its own board of directors in a democratic way, and of its members' rights to scrutinize their elected representatives and to renew their confidence in them-or withdraw it if they are found to have committed violations .

The Center reiterates that this measure reflects the dangerous role played by the Associations' Law in choking the freedom and independence of civil society, as it imposes firm restrictions which take away the right to form associations (guaranteed by the Constitution), and allows government interference whether in the election of associations' boards or in closing down their offices.

CHRLA reaffirms its condemnation of the dissolution of Mansoura University's Faculty Members Club and reiterates the necessity of urging the institutions of civil society to campaign for the repeal of the exceptional law 32/1964, and to get rid of all restrictions imposed on civil work in Egypt.

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