Egypt: Post-election fears for human rights as impunity holds fast

Egypt is likely to continue to face a downward spiral of human rights abuses following the presidential elections, after candidates failed to commit to much-needed reforms to ensure those responsible for abuse face justice, Amnesty International said in a new briefing today.

“This election will not wipe the slate clean after 10 months of gross human rights violations,” said Hassiba Hadj- Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“The country’s partners, such as the USA and the European Union, should not use the elections as a cover to return to ‘business as usual’ with Egypt. Instead, there must be an acknowledgement of the scale and seriousness of the human rights violations committed in the last 10 months.”

The first presidential elections since Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July 2013 will take place on 26 and 27 May.

Amnesty International’s briefing Egypt: Key human rights concerns ahead of presidential elections, details a range of issues, including:

• Unprecedented levels of human rights abuses.

• Torture and other ill-treatment in detention, including in military custody.

• Widening restrictions on the rights to freedoms of expression, association and assembly, particularly against people accused of being Muslim Brotherhood supporters. 

• Selective justice and unfair trials, including mass death sentences.

• Lack of accountability.

• New legislation that gives the authorities powers to commit abuses, and concerns over future laws.

• Ongoing discrimination and violence against women and Coptic Christians, in spite of the authorities’ stated progress in these fields.

• Abuses against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, including those fleeing the conflict in Syria.

• Forced evictions.