EU-Egypt Association Council: An opportunity to denounce Egypt’s appalling human rights record

Egypt, Europe, Press Release, Shrinking Space for Civil Society

Read in:  French  Arabic 

Tomorrow, the EU-Egypt Association Council will hold its 8th meeting in Brussels. In an open letter addressed to HR/VP Mogherini, EuroMed Rights stresses this crucial opportunity for the EU to denounce Egypt’s appalling human rights track record loudly and clearly.

EuroMed Rights’ President, Wadih Al-Asmar, said:

“After last week’s European Parliament’s urgency resolution on Egypt, the EU needs to be consistent and condemn the repression of fundamental democratic rights in Egypt. Remaining silent would be taken as an endorsement by the Egyptian authorities.”

“Egypt is far from being a democratic state and we are extremely worried about the generalised crackdown on Egyptian civil society and activists conducted by the authorities. Arbitrary detentions, travel bans, asset freezes, closure and intimidation: there seems to be no limit to the repression. The latest wave included mass arrests and some enforced disappearances of human rights defenders, media workers, lawyers and rights activists. One such example is that of human rights lawyer Ezzat Ghoneim, who has been missing since September 2018.

Repressive laws, an increasingly politicised judiciary and a lack of enforcement of human rights, including those enshrined in the Egyptian constitution, encourage a climate of impunity. Egyptian authorities have recently made ample use of the death penalty: the latest death sentence in a mass political trial, far from the international guarantees of a fair trial, was confirmed on 24 September 2018, showing an extremely concerning pattern of death sentences resulting from unfair trials.”

EuroMed Rights stresses that EU-Egypt Association Agreement is guided notably by the “respect of democratic principles and fundamental human rights”, and therefore, the EU should definitely not turn a blind eye to widespread human rights violations. The EU should not dismiss the consequences of Egypt’s direction for long-term stability and, instead, should use its political leverage to promote meaningful engagement on democracy and rule of law, which in turn will lead to a more stable country.