The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and the Institut de Recherche et d’Etudes Méditerranée Moyen-Orient (iReMMO) jointly held two events in Paris on June 6th and 7th to discuss the political, human rights and security situation in Egypt within the framework of France-Egypt relations, following the French presidential election. Attendees included political figures, academics and journalists.
The June 6th roundtable included Egyptian human rights defenders Bahey el din Hassan, Director of CIHRS; Dr Moataz el Fegiery, MENA Protection Coordinator for Frontline Defenders and board member of CIHRS; Dr Nancy Okail, Executive Director of TIMEP; and Egyptian HRD Dr Taher Mokhtar. It was moderated by Giovanna Tanzarella, Vice-President of the EuroMed France network and member of iReMMo.
The June 7th event was moderated by renowned journalist Alain Gresh. It was attended by CIHRS President and former Tunisian minister Kamal Jendoubi, as well as French civil society figures, academics, government officials and the general public.
The discussions focused on Egypt’s continued destabilisation—in particular the escalation of terrorism and Egypt’s failed counter-terrorism policy, the targeting of Christians, and the ongoing issue of sectarianism. Repressive responses through the closure of public space and the massive crackdown on both civil society and peaceful political dissidence were debated as well. Speakers addressed the issues of political detainees, rights violations and detention conditions, all of which fuel radicalization and violent extremism in Egypt. They discussed how terrorist groups have fed off repressive State practices and the resulting grievances to reframe their discourse politically.
In the policy debate, President Macron’s campaign statements on promoting human rights more actively were highlighted, and the question of their implementation in the MENA region was raised. Discussions concluded on the nature of the Egyptian regime and its control over Egyptian citizens on the one hand, and the French public’s view of the situation in Egypt, French and European policy-making toward Egypt, and the dynamics of Egypt-France relations on the other hand.
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