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HRW: Egypt-EU bid for counterterrorism 'affront to human rights'

Egyptian policemen stand guard in the streets of North Sinai on 26 July 2018 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images]
Egyptian policemen stand guard in the streets of North Sinai on 26 July 2018 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images]

Human Rights Watch yesterday slammed a recent bid by the European Union and Egypt to lead the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum.

The international organisation warned that the joint bid would go "beyond the usual mere hypocrisy and dodgy backdoor deals," describing the move as an "open affront to the peaceful Egyptian critics who have paid a high price for their efforts to secure human rights and a democratic future for their country, and whom the state has labelled as terrorists for daring to do so."

"Rather than shamefully considering a joint bid with Egypt overlooking its miserable rights record, the EU should start taking meaningful action to address it, as Human Rights Watch and other NGOs, as well as the European Parliament, have urged," HRW said, calling on the EU to "seriously reconsider its move."

READ: Leaked video shows torture in Cairo police station

HRW pointed out that Egypt had become a "human rights black hole" since incumbent President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi came to power in 2013. "Security forces have severely repressed civil society and committed horrendous abuses against scores of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, protesters, opposition politicians, businesspeople, and families of activists," it reiterated.

The rights organisation added that the Egyptian military's campaign in the north Sinai Peninsula was "replete with counterterrorism violations, some so severe, systematic, and widespread that they may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity."

"The EU itself has consistently but timidly raised concerns over Egypt's human rights abuses in statements at the United Nations," HRW said.

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