Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression

Egypt: Rights groups welcome international declaration urging Cairo to end rights violations and repression of civil society

Date : Friday, 12 March, 2021
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The undersigned human rights organizations welcome the joint declaration signed by the governments of 31 states at the United Nations, which was delivered on March 12 by the State of Finland on behalf of the 31 states, during the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The joint declaration condemned the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt, and the fierce attack launched by the Egyptian government on human rights organizations and human rights defenders. It also shed light on the restrictions imposed on freedom of expression, the right to peaceful assembly, and the restriction of civil society and political opposition. It condemned the use of anti-terrorism laws to punish peaceful opponents, and the pattern of ‘recycling cases’ practiced by Egyptian authorities against their opponents to ensure that they are kept behind bars for longer periods without trial.

This international condemnation of Egypt is the second of its kind before the United Nations. A similar international declaration was previously issued in March 2014 denouncing the event of the dispersal of the Rabaa Square sit-in, signed by 26 states, under Item 2 of the Council’s agenda. Friday’s announcement came under Item 4 concerning urgent and emergency cases, which is a clear message to the Egyptian government that its human rights violations have become grave and escalating, similar to those violations and crimes committed in North Korea, Syria, Myanmar, and other countries, usually debated under the same agenda item, in addition to indicating the extent of international concern about the repercussions of the deteriorating human rights situation on stability in Egypt.

The joint declaration issued today constitutes evidence of the culpability of the Egyptian regime, whose grave violations broke the international silence that has been prevalent for years. It is time to stop these violations completely, and to deal with the issue of human rights violations in accordance with Egypt’s international obligations.

Based on the above, the undersigned human rights organizations call on the Egyptian government to seriously and positively react to the provisions of this declaration, including through the release of all those detained for exercising their basic rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association.

  • El Nadim Center
  • Belady Center for Rights and Freedoms
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  • Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
  • Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
  • Committee for Justice
  • Egyptian Front for Human Rights
  • Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
  • Freedom Initiative