The Egyptian government supports the evolution of democracy in Egypt in its rhetoric but continues to quash it in practice, reported a Freedom House study released today.
Countries at the Crossroads, an annual survey of government performance in 30 strategically important countries worldwide, reported that the Egyptian government has become more authoritarian and repressive over the past two years, despite its language to the contrary. The freedom of political parties and civil society actors has become increasingly restricted, the judiciary is punished for seeking independence, and a long-term state of emergency has been largely institutionalized.
The narrative and scores from Countries at the Crossroads 2007 for Egypt are available online in English and Arabic.
“The pattern of events in Egypt over the past two years indicates an effort on the part of the government not only to retreat from promised reforms, but to further impose a repressive system,” said Thomas O. Melia, deputy executive director of Freedom House. “Given Egypt ’s substantial influence on the rest of the region, the failure of President Mubarak to implement meaningful reforms in terms of its citizens’ political and civil liberties is particularly disappointing.”
The freedom of political parties and independent NGOs is becoming increasingly restricted, and the right to assembly is regularly violated, despite the Egyptian constitution’s recognition of this right. Security forces frequently crack down on opposition demonstrations, and arrest and even torture of participants is common.