Sunday 11 September 2022 marks the one year since the launch of Egypt’s National Human Rights Strategy. Yet over this time, the Egyptian state’s systematically authoritarian practices have not subsided. Peaceful dissidents continue to be targeted, forcibly disappeared, and imprisoned; journalists and human rights defenders remain behind bars; torture, denial of medical treatment, and death in detention are still rampant. Egyptian authorities still maintain tight control over public and political space and exercise a complete monopoly over public discourse.
The continued absence of any improvements to the dire human rights conditions in Egypt confirms the previous assessments of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) that the Egyptian government has no political will to address the human rights crisis. Upon the release of the National Strategy, CIHRS released an analysis in November 2021 that concluded that the strategy is simply a ruse to deflect international criticism of Egypt’s abysmal human rights record. The lack of any meaningful progress to address Egypt’s human rights crisis since the strategy’s launch serves as another testament to that conclusion.
The fundamental flaw of the Human Rights Strategy is its identification of the Egyptian people, and not the authorities, as the source of the human rights crisis in Egypt. The strategy also makes disingenuous claims about the reality of civil and political rights in Egypt, and accordingly provides superficial solutions that are irrelevant to the nature of the crisis. The strategy pledges neither reform nor backtracking on current repressive policies, and instead proposes inconsequential technical recommendations.
CIHRS reiterates that any genuine attempt to address the human rights crisis in Egypt requires full acknowledgement of the depths of the crisis and its roots, the immediate and unconditional release of prisoners of conscience, the lifting of restrictions on public space, and the allowing of journalists, civil society, and political parties to fulfill their functions and duties.
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