The United States remains committed to diplomacy that engages citizens as well as governments, and we are working with partners across the world in their efforts to support and strengthen civil society. President Obama, in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly last week, expressed our deep commitment to pursuing democratic change and to the advancement of the rights of civil society. It is this commitment that drives us to stand with all those who seek to express their freedom of association.
In Egypt, we were pleased to see the long-awaited launch of a regional report on women’s rights. However, we are concerned about the recent cancellation of a conference on freedom of association. We urge that this conference, with international and local civil society participation, be rescheduled at the earliest possible opportunity. Additionally, we are concerned by reports that security service members beat and detained Egyptian citizens participating in public demonstrations last week, as well as by reports that security services detained for questioning several individuals involved in peaceful political activities.
We continue to call on the Egyptian government to allow civil society to operate freely and openly in Egypt and to respect freedom of association, assembly, and expression in accordance with its international obligations.