Human Rights Watch has called on European leaders to address the human rights crisis under Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s rule ahead of a summit between the European Union and the African Union this week.
The EU has invited heads of state of the African Union to Brussels on 17 and 18 February for the sixth African Union-European Union summit which will focus on development, visas, education exchanges and security and migration in the Sahel.
Whilst the Egyptian strongman is planning high-profile meetings at the summit, Human Rights Watch is calling on European leaders to instead focus their attention on holding him accountable for the human rights crisis in the country.
Roughly 65,000 political prisoners are detained in Egypt where they are systematically tortured and held in endless pretrial detention.
Recent videos leaked to MEMO of torture inside Katameya Prison in Egypt show detainees blindfolded with their hands bound behind their backs.
Yet despite countless arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and torture that are widely documented, European leaders have said that Al-Sisi is an important partner in the refugee crisis and counterterror measures.
Egypt has accused multiple dissidents of being part of an illegal group and jailed thousands on spurious charges that they are terrorists.
Late last year a clandestine French-Egyptian military operation killed hundreds of civilians they said were terror threats coming from Libya and across the Western desert.
“Instead of giving the president a highly-undeserved red carpet treatment, European leaders should focus on highlighting the human rights crisis unfolding under his rule, and take long-overdue steps to address it,” said HRW’s Claudio Francavilla.
The rights watchdog is calling on European leaders to raise concerns with the Egyptian dictator and put in place serious consequences for the country if he fails to adhere to them.
“A radical shift in Europe’s approach to Egypt, long requested by the European parliament and nongovernmental organisations, is imperative to addressing the Egyptian government’s ruthless repression.”