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International Responsibilities Task Force
of the American Library Association's
Social Responsibilities Round Table


Resolution on Egyptian Censorship

The following resolution was adopted by the elected representatives of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) in 1993. SRRT is a body within the American Library Association but does not and should not be taken to speak for the Association as a whole. In this resolution SRRT speaks only on its own behalf.

Social Responsibilites Round Table Newsletter, No. 109, September 1993, p. 2.

WHEREAS, ALA in its Policy of #57.3 states that "Threats to the freedom of expression of any person become threats to the freedom of all; therefore ALA adopts as policy the principles of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations' General Assembly. The association will address the grievances of foreign nationals where the infringement of their rights of free expression is clearly a matter in which all free people should show concern," and;

WHEREAS, Middle East Watch has documented instances of episodic censorship in Egypt, including the removal from circulation of books considered offensive by scholars at al-Azhar, an ancient Islamic religious research and educational institution;

WHEREAS, Alaa Hamed has been sentenced by the Egyptians courts to prison for writing a novel said to promote heresy and contempt for religion;

WHEREAS, Amnesty International has recently issued the report, Egypt: Grave Human Rights Abuses Amid Political Violence (May 1993);

WHEREAS, The American Library Association has found it appropriate to act on Policy 57.3 in the past by condemning censorship and the interference with library and archival operations in Grenada (CD 28, Midwinter 84; CD 75, Annual 89), South Africa (CD 21, Midwinter 85; CD 58, Annual 86; CD 97, Annual 90; CD 24, Midwinter 91), the United Kingdom (CD 49, Annual 85), Iraq and Kuwait (CD18.4, Midwinter 91), Afghanistan (MD1, Annual 91), and Israel (CD 60, Annual 92);

WHEREAS, The American Library Association has found it appropriate to act on Policy 57.3 in the past by championing the cases of A.B. Roginsky (CD 86, Annual 82), H. Mykhaylenko (CD 57, Annual 87), T.R. Mubudafhasi (CD 28, Midwinter 89; CD 42, Midwinter 90), S. Rushdie (CD 76, Annual 89), and O. al-Safi (CD 59, Annual 92);

WHEREAS, Egypt considers itself to be a democracy.

WHEREAS, Egypt is the recipient of the second largest amount of United States foreign aid (Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1992, Table 1326, p. 792);

RESOLVED, That the Social Responsibilities Round Table make known to all that it condemns these acts of restriction of freedom of individual expression and the right of the free dissemination of knowledge;

RESOLVED, That SRRT urges the ALA Council endorse this resolution;

RESOLVED, That ALA encourages its members to develop ways to support human rights and freedom of information and expression in Egypt, and that the International Relations Committee (IRC) be asked to develop strategies towards these ends; and be it further

RESOLVED That copies of this Resolution be sent to the appropriate persons, including but not limited to the U.S. Secretary of State, the Egyptian Ambassador to the United States, and the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Page last modified December 19, 2002.