President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi has taken up office in Egypt in the midst of a human rights crisis as dire as in any period in the country’s modern history, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.
The organisations called on the new president to make addressing Egypt’s human rights record a top priority.
Since the July 3, 2013, ousting of President-elect Mohamed Morsi, Egyptian security forces have used excessive force on numerous occasions, leading to mass unlawful killings and an unprecedented number of death sentences. This is in addition to the use of force, mass arrests and torture, campaigners said.
“Instead of addressing the urgent need for reform, Egyptian authorities have spent the last year engaging in repression on a scale unprecedented in Egypt’s modern history,” said Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. “Now that President Al-Sisi has formally taken the reins of power, he should put an end to these rampant abuses.”
In addition to the violence and mass arrests, the authorities have imposed extensive restrictions on freedom of association, expression and assembly, which dramatically reverse gains made following the January 25, 2011 uprising.
“Egypt’s allies should impress upon Egypt that the world will not accept foot-dragging or purely cosmetic changes,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “If Egypt doesn’t carry out credible investigations into the illegal killings and torture, the mechanisms of the UN Human Rights Council should be used to pursue an international investigation,” he added.