Civil society organizations prepare to monitor elections

The Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development Studies, which is holding a press conference today to promote its new annual report, “Civil society and Democratic transformation in the Arab World 2009,” is calling on NGOs to join in monitoring upcoming parliamentary elections.

The center said it has received financial aid from the Future Institution to monitor the upcoming parliamentary elections.

It has established the Egyptian Independent Committee for Monitoring Elections, made up of non-governmental organizations registered at the Ministry of Social Solidarity, and is calling on more NGOs to join the committee to prepare for cooperation during election time. 

A number of civil society organizations have also announced that they plan to monitor the upcoming elections.

The Civil Coalition for Democratic Reform, known as “Participate,” has decided to train a number of volunteers to monitor polling. The Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies has also started to implement a project to follow media coverage of the elections over the period of two months.

Today's press conference also marks Saad Eddin Ibrahim's first appearance in connection with the Ibn Khaldoun Center's activities since his return to Egypt.

Ibrahim is a leading Egyptian human rights activist and founder of the Ibn Khaldoun center, who in 2008 was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of "defaming Egypt." He subsequently went into exile, returning to Egypt for the first time on 4 August.

The center's annual report outlines the situation of human rights, basic freedoms, and religious and ethnic minorities in Arab countries.

Meanwhile, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) issued a statement yesterday criticizing frequent campaigns by state security in Alexandria to repress calls for democracy and reform. Six members of the Muslim Brotherhood were recently arrested for calling people to sign up to the seven democratic reform demands of the National Association for Change.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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