10 years later: Egyptian Human Rights Violations?

10 years later egyptian human rights violations

10 years later egyptian human rights violations

Last updated on July 3rd, 2023 at 08:25 am

10 years have passed since the coup that brought about Egypt’s current administration. Egypt’s military installed an interim administration on July 3, 2013, after removing the nation’s first democratically elected president from office.

When Egypt’s politics and economy were in disarray at the time, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a senior general in the country’s all-conquering military, told his fellow citizens that Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist, had been overthrown because he had failed to forge “a national consensus.” But el-Sissi asserted that the military had no desire to maintain political control and would work to hasten the restoration of democratic civil rule.

El-Sissi is still in power ten years later. The situation for common Egyptians is worse than it has ever been in many ways. The economy is in crisis due to high levels of foreign debt, rising inflation, and a nearly halved value of the currency. Egypt, the most populous Arab country, is currently selling or leasing government-owned properties like Telecom Egypt, public transportation, or ports to pay off its foreign debt obligations although an estimated third of its 105 million citizens live in poverty.

El-Sissi has tightened his hold on authority at the same time. Independent journalists and activists critical of the government have faced intimidation or arrest. 

A balanced strategy is required

Observers claim that the Western allies and Egypt’s regional neighbors take an unbalanced stance on these issues. They argue that Egypt’s rapidly deteriorating human rights record receives far less attention than its economic woes, which are frequently brought up.

In an open letter to their top diplomats and ambassadors to the UN Human Rights Council at the beginning of 2022, more than 170 members of various European parliaments demanded the creation of a special body to oversee the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt. The letter was delivered just before the council’s annual meeting.

The letter, signed by seven organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Reporters Without Borders, found that there had been “no consequential follow-up” even though the human rights situation in Egypt had worsened. 

When Sanaa Seif visited Germany last summer, she voiced similar complaints. Seif met politicians in Berlin while campaigning for the release of Egyptian dissident Abdel-Fattah, one of the most well-known political prisoners in the Arab world. However, she was not permitted to reveal who she met. 

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Why is Egypt able to get away with it?

According to Timothy Kaldas, the Tahrir Institute’s deputy director, there are several factors.

Due to its strategic location at the intersection of three continents—Africa, Asia, and Europe—and its sizeable military, Egypt has long been regarded as a significant regional power. Egypt has a long history of pitting its various international allies against one another.

Therefore, Kaldas explained, “Egypt could turn to the US when under pressure from the Gulf states, and they could turn to France when under pressure from them.” Meetings frequently bring up this topic. Someone will say, “Well, what if they just go to that other place instead and we lose access,” if you discuss conditionality [on human rights] in meetings at foreign ministries or international financial institutions.

According to Kaldas, Egypt has also been adept at fostering bilateral ties by engaging in sizable arms deals. According to an annual French report on arms sales published in late 2022, Egypt has been the country’s top importer of French weapons since 2012. Additionally, one of Germany’s major arms customers is Egypt. Under el-Sissi, the number of weapons exported to Egypt increased, making it the third-largest importer of weapons in the world.

The threat of massive, unauthorized migration

Kaldas adds that there are additional explanations. Egypt has been a relatively stable Middle Eastern nation despite el-Sissi’s authoritarian tendencies, especially when compared to places like Syria or Yemen — and its neighbors like it that way.

However, Kaldas and others contend that none of those justifications suffice as an explanation for why nothing should be said about Egyptian human rights. The existential link between human rights, political stability, and economic conditions is frequently overlooked in these discussions.

According to Kaldas, the fundamental issue is that Western states frequently fail to recognize how shortsighted their strategy is. 

Rolls believed that the most crucial requirement for enforcing extensive police-state repression was the armed forces’ loyalty. This development can be seen in the tens of thousands of political prisoners and the shockingly high number of death sentences and executions—even by Egyptian standards.

About Wiz Writer

Wiz writer is a regular contributor to the workers' rights. Blogger, writer, strategist, and Passionate about making a dent in the digital universe.

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