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Association for Human Rights Legal Aid

Association for Human Rights Legal Aid is a non governmental, non profit organisation formed by a group of human rights activists. It was licensed on 18th December 1999 to provide legal aid for victims of human rights' violations, work on spreading human rights' culture and to try to remove legislation that is not in accordance with the Egyptian constitution or to the ratified agreements and conventions on human rights. The association achieves those targets through:

* Carrying out studies and researches on the concepts of civil society, democratic society, laws organizing the work of NGOs and specialized legal researches
* Organizing seminars, conferences and workshops on the issues of democracy and civil society
* Issuing a regular newsletter and publicity notes
* Providing legal support and aid to the victims of human rights' violations according to the different legal work programs
* Field research and fact finding missions
* Campaigns

The association depends on videos, statements and reports on its website. It also uses the mailing list to spread its message. The association uses modern technology of the internet in a passive way, as it works as a mediator to deliver the message of Al-Arabyia and Aljazeera websites to the audience through putting their news tapes on its website.

During the workshop held by HRINFO to discuss the primary results of the current study, the association's spokesman Mr. Tarek Khater declared that the website was established spontaneously without any plans or awareness as to the importance of the internet. It tries to publish the news of the association, support human rights principles, and provide help and legal support to the victims of human rights violations in Egypt.

The website is mainly in Arabic and whenever there is money the association pays to translate some important news or reports reflecting the association's point of view. It depends on volunteering efforts. The interest in the website and developing it to achieve the association's goals was not among the priorities of its team. What made the association pay more attention to the website were its experiences that proved the importance of the internet. Some of those experiences were:

* The arrest of Mr. Hafez Abu Seeda the secretary general of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights after a report on the incidents of Kosheh and the great role of the internet in supporting him
* Using the internet and other means of communication helped obtain taped material on torture which was not available before
* Internet made information on all different issues available for people
* The videos and pictures on torture had a great effect on public opinion

The association recently began to develop the website and make some changes to increase its visitors' numbers among them:

* A special section for documentary movies on human rights, such as the movie on the war against Lebanon last summer and movies on different issues such as detaining adults and minors in the same places at police stations
* Using Al Jazeera and Al Arabyia news tapes

The following points hinder depending on the internet:

* Getting used to the forms of human rights work
* The oppressive government and its methods of blocking websites