Rights groups urge UNESCO to reject Egypt's nominee

Egyptian civil rights groups are urging UNESCO to reject the candidacy of Egypt's nominee to head the agency, alleging she is complicit in state attacks on the values for which the U.N. agency stands.

A statement Friday from six groups says Moushira Khattab is silent on the state's closure of several libraries and attacks on other cultural institutions in Egypt, casting doubts over her competency to lead UNESCO. The U.N. agency is responsible for coordinating international cooperation in education, science and culture.

The groups critical of Khattab include the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and Nazra for Feminist Studies.

A message left Saturday with Khattab, who is currently in Paris, was not immediately returned.

Ambassador Mohammed el-Orabi, director of Khattab's campaign, provided a list of 23 civil society organizations supporting Khattab's candidacy.

Khattab previously served in Egyptian diplomatic missions.