Executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, Sarah Leah Whitson, yesterday criticised British Prime Minister David Cameron’s welcome of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, describing it as a “disgrace”.
In her statements to the Anadolu Agency, Whitson said: “Instead of prosecuting Al-Sisi in the ICC in The Hague, he is welcomed by Prime Minister David Cameron in the parliament building. This is a scandal.”
She also criticised Britain’s position “as it remained silent in the face of Al-Sisi’s actions against his own people”, noting that “the Egyptian people will not forget this negative attitude”.
Whitson pointed out that the Egyptian people will not forget the diplomatic meeting between Cameron and Al-Sisi, adding: “Britain is more focused on selling weapons than it is on its principles and morals.”
Shadi Hamid, of the American Brookings Institute, said the goal behind Al-Sisi’s visit to Britain is to obtain international recognition for the legitimacy of his rule.
Hamid said: “But the more recognition Al-Sisi received, the more oppression he exercises against his people.”
Al-Sisi began an official visit to Britain on Wednesday based following an invitation from Prime Minister David Cameron. This was met with angry reactions from democracy and human rights supporters in the country.
Cameron met with the Egyptian president at the start of his three-day visit.
The British government has stressed the importance of cooperation with Al-Sisi with regards to tourism, trade, combatting Daesh and extremism. Members of Parliament from the ruling Conservative party have also stressed the need to cooperate with Egypt in order to achieve stability in the region and in the “war on terrorism”.