CAIRO: An Egyptian activist has been awarded the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary activism by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in recognition of his work defending civil rights and personal freedoms in Egypt.
HRW describes Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), as a “leading voice against the prosecution and harassment of individuals based on their religious beliefs or private sexual conduct.”
Established in 2002, EIPR works on the right to privacy, health, violence and bodily integrity.
The Cairo-based NGO has won a number of high-profile cases, including a case against the interior ministry that allowed Egyptian Baha’i citizens to leave the religious denomination field on identification documents blank rather than being forced to incorrectly identify themselves as Muslim, Christian or Jewish.
More recently the administrative court froze a government decree on drug pricing which EIPR challenged as a violation of the right to health.
“Hossam Bahgat has been one of the most creative and strategic human rights activists engaged in the struggles to defend basic rights in Egypt,” said Heba Morayef, Egypt researcher at Human Rights Watch in a press statement.
“The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights is in the forefront of efforts to protect personal rights and freedom of belief.”