The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies delivered an oral statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council 37th session held in Geneva in March, highlighting the unprecedented deterioration of the human rights situation in Egypt and the methods of repression used by the Egyptian government to silence legitimate and peaceful opposition.
United Nations Human Rights Council: 37th Session
Oral Intervention: Item 4 – General Debate
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
13 March 2018
Delivered by: Jeremie Smith
The human rights situation in Egypt continues to deteriorate with no end in sight. Fourteen regional and international organizations have said that the upcoming elections in March are neither free nor fair, and leading Egyptian human rights organizations recently warned the elections have become a dangerous "charade" that is likely to "exacerbate violence, terrorism and instability" in the country.
Egyptian authorities increasingly employ brutally repressive tactics to silence legitimate dissent, from passing legislation effectively banning independent NGOs and tight censorship of media outlets to enforced disappearances, systematic torture, large-scale arbitrary detention for long periods, unlawful killings and accelerated use of the death penalty.
The judiciary has largely failed to hold to account those responsible for violations of international and national lawand, in many cases, the courts have served as an instrument of repression for the authorities.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has repeatedly warned that “brutality and intimidation of the country's most thoughtful dissenting voices, the cutting off of the vital social and economic services provided by NGOs, and blocking information can only exacerbate radicalism and instability” in the country.
Despite this dire assessment by UN officials and experts, we have witnessed a profound absence of leadership to address the situation in Egypt at this Council.
The silence of this body has become increasingly difficult to justify as the Egyptian government steps up its campaign to criminalize peaceful dissent, crush independent journalism,and eradicate independent civil society. This silence has also perpetuated impunity and provided reassurance to Egypt’s security forces that there will be no consequences for committing human rights violations.
Will this Council continue to standby as the survival of Egyptian independent civil society and the possibility for future democratic reform in the country hangs in the balance?
Thank you, Mr. President
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