Months after Hosni Mubarak was removed from power, Egypt’s transitional government continues to fight western influence. You may have seen news reports chronicling 43 western citizens (including 13 Americans) fleeing Egypt to avoid criminal prosecution. Most of the accused are members of pro-democracy Non Governmental Organizations that the Egyptian government claims are using foreign capital to cite unrest amongst Egyptians.
The dispute balances political interests including Egypt’s receipt of foreign aide and the nation’s foreign policy towards Israel; however, human rights advocates and western leaders fear that Egypt’s transitional government may be no more committed to democracy than the regime it replaced.
In Monday’s Washington Post, Kareem Elbayar, an attorney for the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, pointed out that “[u]nder Egyptian law, individuals must obtain permission from the government to associate or they risk imprisonment. The application process… can take months, if not years…” Elbayar notes that this requirement violates principles of International Law.
I have long been skeptical that regime change throughout the Middle East would produce long-lasting human rights advances. There has been a long history of western-supported regime change that results in tyrannical regimes. As I watch transformations across Egypt, Lybia, and now Syria, I can only hope that continuing international pressure can help ensure progress in human rights.