It was a striking choice for France to invite Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to attend the 24-26 August G7 summit in Biarritz, for which the chosen theme is “the fight against inequality”. The number of Egyptians under the poverty line has clearly risen according to official Egyptian 2018 statistics, while the World Bank estimates that “some 60% of Egypt’s population is either poor or vulnerable” in 2019. Egyptian social and economic rights defenders, trade union activists, journalists and whistle-blowers, as well as feminist, LGBTQIA+ organizations and civil society at large have not been spared in recent waves of state crackdown on dissent.
Public space has been virtually closed down in Egypt in the midst of a worsening human rights crisis, with a severe rollback of the freedoms of expression, assembly, association and the press. The political sphere is extremely restricted for opposition political parties.
Ahead of the fall 2019 review of Egypt’s rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council, 20 rights groups are calling on French President Emmanuel Macron to follow up on his January 2019 statements in Cairo by speaking out again on the continuing human rights crisis in Egypt, and urging al-Sisi during his visit at the G7 to allow Egyptian rights defenders to document violations and travel to engage with multilateral mechanisms. If these abuses are left unquestioned, the G7 summit will de facto legitimize President al-Sisi’s utter disregard for Egypt’s human rights obligations.
More specifically, the 20 organizations urge President Macron to call on President al-Sisi to drop all charges and unconditionally release all arbitrarily-detained human rights defenders and journalists, and drop abusive probation measures against them. Political prisoners detained for peaceful activities should be immediately released, and those jailed after unfair trial procedures or without trial should be tried or re-tried in proceedings that meet Egypt’s international human rights obligations. Other recommendations include implementing an immediate moratorium on executions, promptly investigating all reported cases of enforced disappearance, and bringing an end to torture as well as to the persecution and criminalization of LGBTQI+ people.
- Adalah Center for Rights & Freedoms
- Arab Network for Knowledge about Human rights (ANKH Association)
- Centre arabe d’études du droit et de la société
- Committee for Justice
- Egyptian Front for Human Rights
- Egyptian Human Rights Forum
- EuroMed Rights
- International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
- Front Line Defenders
- Human Rights Watch
- Initiative franco-égyptienne pour les droits et les libertés (IFEDL)
- Andalus institute for tolerance and anti-violence studies (AITAS)
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
- L’Action des chrétiens pour l’abolition de la torture (ACAT-France)
- Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH)
- MENA Rights Group
- World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
- Reporters Without Borders
- The Freedom Initiative
Photo: Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, le président égyptien, avec Emmanuel Macron à l’Elysée, le 24 octobre 2017. Photo Laurent Troude