EU/EGYPT: EU must denounce Egypt for human rights violations

European leaders are putting short term interests ahead of human rights by supporting the Egyptian government as it continues its assault on human rights, said Amnesty International today, ahead of meetings at the EU-Egypt Association Council on Sunday 19 June 2022 and Monday 20 June 2022.

“EU leaders will meet with the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss deepening ties and providing political and financial support to the Egyptian government, which is arbitrarily detaining thousands of opponents and critics in inhumane conditions and stifling civil society, while Egyptian courts handed out the most recorded death sentences worldwide in 2021” said Hussein Baoumi, Amnesty International’s Egypt Researcher.

“European leaders claim they care about human rights but President Von Der Leyen’s silence about the escalating repression during her recent visit to Egypt would suggest otherwise. Remaining silent or issuing weak, mealy-mouthed expressions of concern is hardly enough to help those languishing unjustly in Egypt’s jails.

“The EU must immediately denounce Egypt’s violations and make human rights central to discussions on EU-Egypt relations, especially as Egypt prepares to host COP27. Europe’s leaders must call on the Egyptian authorities to release those arbitrarily detained, end the crackdown on civil society and respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

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On Sunday 19 June 2022, EU leaders will meet with Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry in Luxembourg to discuss priority areas of cooperation during the next five years. On Monday 20 June 2022, 27 EU Foreign Ministers will again meet with Minister Shoukry to discuss the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), which will be held in the Egyptian town of Sharm El-Sheikh between 7 and 18 November 2022.

Amnesty International and partner NGOs sent a letter to EU leaders ahead of the EU-Egypt Association Council to raise concerns over Egypt’s human rights record. It has also published its analysis on barriers to effective participation for civil society in COP27 and issued recommendations for ensuring that the conference’s success is not undermined by Egypt’s repressive policies.