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Egypt lists protest actions banned during COP27

November 7, 2022 at 12:14 pm

A view of International Congress Center, where the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference more commonly referred to as Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, or COP27 to be held tomorrow, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on November 05, 2022 [Mohamed Abdel Hamid/Anadolu Agency]

The Egyptian authorities have banned activists at the UN’s COP27 Climate Summit from mocking the heads of state and government officials taking part. Anyone violating the banned list will be punished, they warned. The details were provided on the website of the Egyptian presidency of the summit under the heading “Information, limitations and guidelines for participants, regarding the green zone, the zone designated for climate events, and other areas in Sharm El-Sheikh”.

Participants are prohibited from using “banners, slogans, chants, symbols, audio, print or visual materials that incite hatred, discrimination, racism or violence…” Cartoons mocking heads of state and governments, and individuals are banned, as is making fun of the UN and any of its member states, organisations and individuals. Any criticism that is contrary to basic rules of decency is also out of the question. Any protests need to be notified to the authorities at least 48 hours in advance, giving its timing, duration, start and end points and route, and the expected number of participants. Some of those taking part may also be required to undergo a search by security officials. Non-compliance with the guidance in the online handbook will be punished, warned the Egyptian authorities.

The climate summit in Egypt has brought back to the fore the issue of human rights in the country, and the authorities’ crackdown on opponents. Human rights organisations have criticised the deterioration of human rights in Egypt, with prisons “filled with tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience and defenders of human and environmental rights” held in extremely harsh conditions.

The rights groups asked the participants in the summit to demand that the Egyptian authorities should suspend executions, release political prisoners immediately and stop the arbitrary arrest of opponents. “The use of pre-trial detention as a means to punish political opponents, and the systematic practice of enforced disappearance should be stopped,” they insisted. “The government should reveal the whereabouts and fate of those forcibly disappeared, including those who have died.”

The groups also called for an end to systematic torture of prisoners and detainees; the removal of restrictions on civil society rights, freedom of expression and the media, and changes to legislation on freedom of peaceful assembly.

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