Portuguese / Spanish / English

Egypt opposition calls on IPU to 'withdraw' from youth conference in Egypt

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi speaks during the opening ceremony of the World Youth Forum in Sharm el-Sheikh on November 2, 2018. (Photo by Pedro Costa Gomes / AFP / Getty Images)
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi speaks during the opening ceremony of the World Youth Forum in Sharm el-Sheikh on 2 November 2018 [Pedro Costa Gomes/AFP/Getty Images]

The Egyptian Revolutionary Council has called on the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to "withdraw" from the Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians in Sharm El-Sheikh due to be held tomorrow.

Condemning the IPU's "deplorable" decision to partner with "the military dictatorship in Egypt to hold the forthcoming conference", the opposition body said: "This partnership is happening under the guise of a partnership with the Egyptian parliament, which any fair observer of Egypt knows is a rubber stamp institution that serves as a tool of the military regime."

"The IPU clearly states that it has an obligation to protect fellow parliamentarians," the Egyptian Revolutionary Council said in its open letter to President of the Inter- Parliamentary Union and Member of Parliament of Portugal, Duarte Pacheco, adding: "Since the military coup of 2013 in Egypt, 171 elected Members of Parliament have been imprisoned and many are in exile and if they return, they will face imprisonment and worse. They were elected in what international observers acknowledged as Egypt's first free and fair elections since 1952."

They "are denied medical care, family visits, tortured and others have died in detention," it explained.

READ: Over 70 days on hunger strike for British-Egyptian activist Alaa Abdelfattah

"The IPU should have defended the rights of elected MPs in Egypt's first free parliament, instead it is a great shame that such an organisation is being used to legitimise and whitewash one of the most tyrannical regimes in the region."

The open letter can be read in full below:

Dear Mr Duarte Pacheco,

I hope this letter finds you well.

I am writing to you in regard to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) which will hold its Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt on 15 -16 June. While one would of course normally welcome an exchange between Parliamentarians, especially on the critical subject of climate change and the environment which is key to the agenda being discussed, however, in this case it is extremely worrying and deplorable that the IPU is essentially partnering with the military dictatorship in Egypt to hold the forthcoming conference. This partnership is happening under the guise of a partnership with the Egyptian parliament, which any fair observer of Egypt knows is a rubber stamp institution that serves as a tool of the military regime.

The IPU clearly states that it has an obligation to protect fellow parliamentarians, unfortunately, the IPU's role in facilitating this conference flies in the face of this objective.

Since the military coup of 2013 in Egypt, 171 elected Members of Parliament have been imprisoned and many are in exile and if they return, they will face imprisonment and worse. They were elected in what international observers acknowledged as Egypt's first free and fair elections since 1952. The democratically elected representatives of the people, Members of Parliament, are denied medical care, family visits, tortured and others have died in detention. This is evidenced by the UNHRC, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

The IPU should have defended the rights of elected MPs in Egypt's first free parliament, instead it is a great shame that such an organisation is being used to legitimise and whitewash one of the most tyrannical regimes in the region. I can only hope that the IPU has been duped into taking part in cooperating with the Egyptian Junta through this conference. The IPU may think it is furthering its own values but the reality is that it is being used to legitimise a regime that is in serious breach of international law. Furthermore, it is facing political and economic crises and because it is under international and domestic pressure it is attempting to improve its image. As with all dictatorships it is  attempting to cover up grave  human rights violations,  but it is not easy for it to do so today especially in a world where  information travels fast. I hope that IPU is not used as a cover and facilitator of this military regime that denies it's people the most basic rights.

We urge you personally as a national of Portugal and an MP of a country that suffered one of the longest periods of dictatorship of any European country in the twentieth century, to exert what influence you can to ensure that the IPU withdraw (it is never too late) from partnership in the forthcoming conference which is happening under the aegis of a military dictatorship that is already accused of crimes against humanity.Kind regards

Dr Maha AzzamHead | The Egyptian Revolutionary Council

Categories
AfricaEgyptEurope & RussiaNewsPortugal
Show Comments
Writing Palestine - Celebrating the tenth year of the Palestine Book Awards - Buy your copy of the book now
Show Comments