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Amnesty calls on EU to address human rights in Egypt

February 17, 2022 at 2:07 pm

Egyptian policemen stand guard, 6 July 2018 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Amnesty International yesterday called on European leaders to put pressure on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to address the human rights crisis in Egypt. The call came as Sisi is in the Belgium capital Brussels to attend the EU and African Union summit.

“EU leaders must press Sisi to tackle Egypt’s human rights crisis and end the unrelenting assault on human rights defenders when they meet him on the sidelines of the [EU-AU] summit,” said the human rights organisation.

Amnesty’s EU office director, Eve Geddie, urged the European leaders scheduled to meet with Sisi during the summit “to use this opportunity to denounce his government’s crackdown on human rights… EU leaders must not offer him an opportunity to whitewash Egypt’s deeply repressive policies.”

Geddie called on the EU and AU member states “to deliver on their human rights commitments and explicitly support the role of civil society and human rights defenders.” She warned that a continuation of what she described as “business-as-usual relations with Egypt” would “undermine the EU’s credibility.”

The EU meeting with Sisi, insisted the Amnesty official, must not offer Egypt an opportunity to conceal its “horrendous” human rights abuses. “The harassment, intimidation and arbitrary detention of human rights defenders in Egypt must end.”

Since Sisi took office in 2014, Egypt has been condemned internationally for its systematic arrest of political opponents and human rights defenders. The former general has said repeatedly that there are no political prisoners in Egypt, however, and that stability and security are paramount. The reality, as even the UN acknowledges, is that there are tens of thousands of political prisoners held in Sisi’s Egypt.

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