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The Human Rights Movement and Contentious Politics in Egypt (2004-2014)

Research Papers
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The economic and social rights movement has struck some success in working with contentious movements to challenge public policies and institutions in Egypt. However, no organic relationship developed between the two. The contentious movement did not strategically adopt an economic and social rights framing that would have enabled it to get beyond its local, largely apolitical and un-institutionalized characteristics in favour of a nationwide platform.
 
Meanwhile, the human rights movement was unable to cultivate strong and continuous organizational or discursive links with the broader contentious movement needed to counter potential authoritarian reversals like the ones that happened after July 2013. 
 
The main argument is that gains made by “NGOization”, civil “societization” and professionalization (access to resources and recognition) came at the high price of alienation from the aggrieved constituencies undertaking contention and hence hindered the development of organic links between them. The head remained severed from the large leaderless body.
 
This is the first of three papers on the relationship between human rights actors and the rest of civil society actors and formations. The following papers will address Tunisia and Morocco.
 
Photo: Textile workers during protests at Mahala Textile Factory in Mahala city, 130km north of Cairo, October 2008, © EPA.