Climate activist Greta Thunberg has said on Twitter that she has signed a petition calling on the Egyptian government to release political prisoners ahead of COP27.
We stand in solidarity with prisoners of conscience in Egypt & joined @copcivicspace petition urging Egypt to open civic space and release everyone arbitrarily detained ahead of #COP27
Sign the petition urging @AlsisiOfficial @Cop27P to #FreeThemAllhttps://t.co/07ElEovDpy
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) October 20, 2022
Her support comes amid criticism that large green groups have not spoken out about the human rights situation in Egypt ahead of the UN summit.
There will be no meaningful climate action unless we defend political freedoms.
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) October 20, 2022
It’s a huge step forward that @GretaThunberg has broken the silence on #Cop27 & Egypt’s 60,000 arbitrarily detained prisoners, responding to the call for solidarity on the ground. We wait to hear from Climate groups. No Climate Justice without Human Rights #FreeThemAll https://t.co/s4zc3LlAKL
— Free Alaa (@FreedomForAlaa) October 21, 2022
Cop Civic Space, a coalition of Egyptian human rights groups, is helping ramp up the pressure on the Egyptian government to stop committing violations.
It hopes to use the publicity generated by COP27 to mobilise the global climate movement and the Egyptian human rights movement to amplify key demands of the Egyptian human rights movement.
The coalition is calling on the Egyptian government to release some 60,000 political prisoners who are kept in dire conditions, are systematically tortured and denied adequate medical care.
The petition is also calling on the government to unblock media websites and allow civil society to take part in COP27 without fear of reprisal.
Since May 2017 the Egyptian government has blocked at least 600 websites in violation of the right to access information.
It has also passed two laws, the Press and Media Regulation Law, and the Cybercrime Law, to legalise this blocking which applies to websites and any social media account with over 5,000 followers.
Among the reasons given is the government’s ability to block websites for broadcasting false news, publishing or broadcasting calls for breaking the law, or contempt to heavenly religions.
Many political prisoners have been detained under these charges.
There has been much debate over whether the Egyptian government will allow the meaningful participation of civil society in November, given that a 2013 law effectively bans protests.
Over the last several days social media users have reported that police checkpoints have been erected in downtown Cairo and plain clothes police officers are searching phones for anti-government content ahead of the climate summit.