The World Movement for Democracy is gravely concerned to learn about the forced disappearance of Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, the head of the housing rights program at a human rights law firm based in Cairo, Egypt. On June 12, 2019, Ibrahim Ezz El-Din was reportedly arrested on his way home from work in Cairo’s Mokattam neighborhood. However, the Mokattam police station denies detaining Ezz El-Din, and his current whereabouts are unknown.
Ibrahim Ezz El-Din is an architect who focuses on forced evictions and urban planning. Ezz El-Din has been critical of the Egyptian government’s investment in the new administrative capital, arguing that this money would have been better spent on improving water sanitation and housing developments.
His forced disappearance follows a wave of reprisal by the Egyptian authorities against human rights defenders and lawyers working on the right to housing, after the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, Leilani Farha, visited the country from September 24 to October 3, 2018.
Human rights defenders and lawyers who met with Farha subsequently reported being followed or summoned for interrogations by the police, receiving anonymous and threatening phone calls, or being forcibly evicted from their homes. It is unclear whether Ezz El-Din’s disappearance is related to these cases. However, forced disappearances of human rights defenders and government critics are well documented.
WMD demands Egyptian authorities to guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, as well as that of all human rights defenders in Egypt. It also seek to immediately disclose Ibrahim Ezz El-Din’s whereabouts and release him immediately and unconditionally from arbitrary detention.