Egyptian human rights activist Mohamed Zaree has been denied travel to accept his humanitarian award. The Martin Ennals Award is given to the world's greatest defenders of human rights. It is granted by the top ten human right organizations around the globe, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Zaree has been placed on the travel ban list for his work documenting abuses throughout the country. He is not the only activist to be banned from leaving Egypt. Many journalists, photographers, and activists have been restricted and even imprisoned.

Human rights studies

Zaree, 37, works for the Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies as an activities leader. His focus is not only on Egypt, but on the entire Arab world. He and his fellow activists have all been banned from traveling outside the country. Some have even had their assets frozen by Egyptian authorities.

After the overthrow of former President Morsi, the current administration has cracked down on any groups that may "undermine national unity." Egyptian President Sisi has attempted to repress a multitude of organizations from LGBT rights groups to terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Zaree's human rights organization has since moved its base to Tunisia.

Targeting social workers

Human rights activists and social workers have been targeted by Egyptian authorities in recent years. Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American charity worker, was arrested and spent three years in prison for false charges of child abuse. Hijazi had founded an organization to help feed and provide medical care to homeless children in Egypt.

Targeting LGBT groups

More recently, over 50 people have been arrested for ties with LGBT groups. The sweeping arrests came during a concert in Cairo when a few audience members raised the rainbow Gay Pride flag. LGBT groups are banned in Egypt, and activists are still trying to secure the release of those arrested for simply holding a flag.

Zaree's reward

In his attempts to bring basic rights to the Egyptian people, Zaree was recognized and awarded the Martin Ennals award. However, since he is not allowed to leave the country, his wife and daughters accepted the award for him in Geneva, Switzerland.

Although he has been limited, Zaree continues to work bring justice for victims of human rights violations. His work comes with great risk, but he is more concerned with the risks that face the victims he is trying to help. He does not want to see the victims denied their final hope.