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US, Western international locations collectively condemn Egypt’s rights abuses

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Mar 12, 2021

The United States joined 30 different international locations on Friday to specific concern over “the trajectory of human rights in Egypt” and the Egyptian authorities’s use of counterterrorism legal guidelines to crush peaceable dissent. 

“We draw particular attention to restrictions on freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly, the constrained space for civil society and political opposition, and the application of terrorism legislation against peaceful critics,” learn the letter, which was delivered on Friday by Finland on the UN Human Rights Council’s 46th session. 

The signatories, which included Australia, Canada and principally European international locations, additionally referred to as on Egypt to elevate its travel bans and asset freezes towards human rights defenders. The letter particularly talked about restrictions on the employees on the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, whose members had been launched from jail following a global outcry in December. 

The joint declaration Friday was praised by human rights teams who’ve documented torture, compelled disappearances and extrajudicial killings by the hands of Egyptian safety forces, in addition to the jailing of tens of 1000’s of presidency critics since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi got here to energy in 2013.

“Today’s declaration sends a clear message to the Egyptian authorities that the world will no longer turn a blind eye to their relentless campaign to crush peaceful dissent,” stated Kevin Whelan, Amnesty International’s consultant to the UN in Geneva.

“The March 12 declaration ends years of a lack of collective action at the UN Human Rights Council on Egypt,” stated Bahey Hassan, director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.

Since the final such joint declaration was delivered on the council in 2014, the scenario for human rights has worsened significantly. Last month, Human Rights Watch and 21 different organizations accused Egypt’s safety forces of concentrating on the relations of exiled dissidents with “unlawful home raids, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and prolonged detention of family members without trial or charges.” 

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken instructed his Egyptian counterpart final month that human rights will probably be “central” to the US relationship with Egypt, a rustic that receives roughly $1.three billion in US army help per yr. The Biden administration has confronted criticism for approving the sale of nearly $200 million price of naval surface-to-air missiles to Cairo regardless of promising “no more blank checks” for Sisi’s authorities. 

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