EuroMed Rights has closely followed the human rights situation in Egypt over the past two decades as it is a key country in the Middle East for many reasons including its history, size, position and geopolitical weight.
Against the backdrop of political upheaval since 2011, Egypt has seen a dramatically deteriorating situation for human rights, particularly under the authoritarian regime led by President el-Sisi since 2014, with frequent targeting of human rights defenders, an increasingly restricted space for civil society organisations, attacks on freedom of expression, surges in enforced disappearances, instances of ill-treatment and torture in prisons and a growing number of extrajudicial killings, amongst other violations.
In 2019, the Egyptian regime adopted several constitutional amendments reinforcing its authoritarian grip on the country, extending President el-Sisi’s presidential term until 2030 and giving more power to the army over the judiciary. September 2019 saw the outbreak of peaceful protests against high-level corruption in the government and military, which the Egyptian authorities quashed with alarming force by arresting over 4,000 people (source: Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms).
EuroMed Rights’ work on Egypt focuses on the shrinking space for civil society, in addition to cross-cutting themes such as justice, migration and gender equality. This includes the intensifying repression against civil society and crackdown on human rights following the constitutional amendments last year, and ensuring that the Egyptian government follows up on the recommendations adopted during the Universal Periodic Review of its human rights record in March 2020.
Our work involves closely monitoring the human rights situation in Egypt through reports, press releases and briefings as well as trial observation. These trial observations include the emblematic case of blogger and human rights activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, the Belady case against woman human rights defender Aya Hegazy and most recently the case against woman human rights defender Amal Fathy. Our reports have analysed the use of pre-trial detention as a tool of repression against human rights defenders and EU-Egypt migration cooperation, among other topics.
EuroMed Rights also carries out regular advocacy activities with the UN, the EU and their member states, raising specific cases of human rights violations and pushing for the inclusion of these issues in all diplomatic dialogue with Egypt.
Our information page Human Rights Behind Bars in Egypt supports Egyptian human rights defenders and activists with regular updates on individual cases. This initiative helps garner increased international recognition for their courageous work and the risks they face.