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Climate Justice Alliance joins call for Egypt to release detainees ahead of COP27

August 25, 2022 at 1:55 pm

Demonstrators gather to protest Egypt’s attempts to greenwash crimes with the upcoming COP27 conference, on 8 August 2022 [FreedomForAlaa/Twitter]

The Climate Justice Alliance has joined a call by Egyptian human rights movements for the release of arbitrary detainees ahead of COP27 which will be held on the Red Sea of Sharm El-Skeikh in November.

CJA are also calling on the Egyptian government to end the persecution of civil society activists and organisations, and to guarantee that members of civil society can work without fear of intimidation, harassment, arrest, detention or reprisal.

In July, 36 organisations called on Egyptian authorities to uphold the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly at the upcoming UN climate conference.

Following comments made by Egypt’s foreign minister in May, when Sameh Shoukry said that a special facility next to the conference centre would be designated for protests, the organisations called on the government to allow demonstrations in keeping with international law.

They raised concern that restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities would “hinder the full and meaningful participation of activists, human rights defenders, civil society, and Indigenous peoples’ representatives at COP27.”

Egypt: Uncertainty shrouds the future of environmental activist Ahmed Al-Kholy, trapped in pretrial detention for 3 years and counting

Momentum has been gathering for several months with activists and public figures all over the world questioning the decision to hold the conference in Egypt given the widespread human rights abuses that take place in the country.

In August, demonstrators gathered outside the British embassy in Berlin to protest Egypt’s attempts to greenwash human rights crimes at home with the upcoming conference.

Author Naomi Klein, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, and environmentalist and author Bill McKibben are among signatories to a letter raising the alarm over Egypt hosting the conference and calling on Egyptian authorities to free thousands of political prisoners.

Prior to that, 21 global civil society organisations called on German ministers to pressure President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to allow protests and release all political prisoners.

Five leading human rights organisations, including the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedom, have been prevented from attending the climate change conference.

Also of concern is that there are environmental activists in prison in Egypt, including Ahmed Al-Kholy, an environmental activist who was a leader in the Independence Party.

Ahmed has been imprisoned since 2019 on fabricated charges and held in pretrial detention, despite the fact that under Egyptian law prisoners can only be held on remand for two years.

His lawyer told MEMO last month that Ahmed is accused of writing a statement in support of the 2019 protests, but nobody has actually seen the statement.