European and like-minded states in Egypt: interests at the expense of human rights

Egypt, Policy Brief

This policy brief investigates the link between the interests of European states and their position on the human rights situation in Egypt.

Since the late 20th century, the main concern of EU and like-minded states in the Mediterranean region has been political stability to meet their own security and economic interests.

However, the pursuit of these interests has often occurred at the expense of EU and like-minded states’ commitment to protecting human rights. Over the past few years, human rights organisations have repeatedly called on Western governments to rethink their cooperation with Egyptian authorities in light of the unprecedented crackdown on human rights and civil society. Ahead of the 10th anniversary of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, 12 international human rights organisations wrote an open letter to the EU to reverse course in its relations with the Egyptian government. In March 2021, 31 states signed a joint declaration at the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn the human rights situation in Egypt, which represented a significant first step, but most of the calls of Egyptian and international civil society remain unanswered. This policy brief examines some European states’ interests in order to understand what holds them back in condemning the human rights situation in Egypt.

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