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HRW: France must end ‘disgraceful policies of indulgence’ towards Egypt

French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, France on 2 June 2016 [Pablo Tupin-Noriega/Wikipedia]
French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, France on 2 June 2016 [Pablo Tupin-Noriega/Wikipedia]

Human Rights Watch has called on French President Emmanuel Macron to call out Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s human rights record and to end France’s “disgraceful policies of indulgence” ahead of a meeting between the two leaders in Paris today.

The two leaders will meet at the Elysee Palace for talks to discuss regional security and “the human rights situation to which France is particularly attentive,” according to the presidential statement.HRW France Director Benedicte Jeannerod called on Macron not to miss the chance “to make a first impression on Sisi” and to tell him that “Egypt’s human rights record will not be given a pass.”

Continuing to support Egypt’s repressive government would betray the country’s brave activists, who face grave risks trying to make their country better.

Under Al-Sisi’s rule, Egypt has purchased four French-made Gowind corvette ships at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion which also covers the equipment and the training of the Egyptian crews. It has also purchased 24 Rafale aircrafts worth about $7.2 billion from France.

Read more: Human rights should not be judged from a Western perspective says Sisi

HRW called on France to “stop ignoring serious abuses” in Egypt that have become common place since Al-Sisi took office through a military coup in 2013. Since then Al-Sisi’s regime has been complicit in a brutal crackdown on dissent and opposition members with security forces regularly practising torture.

France must pressure Al-Sisi by creating conditions on future economic cooperation and military support that surround improving human rights, HRW said.

Over 60,000 people have been arrested, with hundreds handed death sentences in shoddy mass trials and over 15,000 civilians charged in military courts, since Al-Sisi came to power in a military coup in July 2013.The volatile situation in the country has also allowed Daesh to strengthen its standing in the Sinai Peninsula where it has carried out attacks targeting police and army figures as well as civilians.

Over the weekend, at least 50 policemen were killed in an attack southwest of the capital Cairo which Daesh claimed responsibility for.

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