Egypt: human rights defenders and MEP urge the EU to use megaphone diplomacy

Egypt, Justice and the Rule of Law, Press Release

With the Egyptian authorities’ crackdown against protesters intensifying in recent days, four Egyptian human rights defenders testified at an event today hosted in the European Parliament by MEP Hannah Neuman. Ahead of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Egypt due to take place at the United Nations Human Rights Council in November 2019, the defenders denounced the widespread human rights violations carried out by the military regime in the last few years.

“Remaining silent whilst the rights of so many people in Egypt are violated is not an option for Europe. Human rights defenders are regularly subjected to harassment and repression,” said MEP Hannah Neumann at the event. “I’m concerned about the recent wave of arrests of over 2,000 protesters, the repression shows once again that President al-Sisi does not tolerate legitimate protests. I urge the EU and its member states to scrutinise their relations with Egypt, including security cooperation and EU assistance programmes,” she added.

Representing the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, the Committee for Justice, and the Egyptian Front for Human Rights, the human rights defenders called on the EU Member States to “use this key opportunity to denounce Egypt’s appalling human rights record. Since the last review of Egypt’s record in 2014, human rights violations continue to be extremely concerning amidst the silence of the international community.” These four human rights organisations have submitted civil society reports ahead of the UPR.

In an open letter to the 28 EU ministers of foreign affairs, 18 international NGOs had also urged the EU Member States to use the forthcoming Universal Periodic Review of Egypt to speak out in favour of human rights.