HRW urges new France president to address Egypt’s continued human rights violations

HRW urges new France president to address Egypt’s continued human rights violations

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Monday urged French President Emmanuel Macron to raise human rights abuse [HRW report]s during a meeting with Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi in Paris on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s meeting will be Macron’s first meeting with al-Sisi and first opportunity to address Egypt’s serious human rights violations, including what HRW described as “Egyptian security services’ widespread and systematic use of torture, which likely constitutes a crime against humanity.” HRW continued:

Al-Sisi has presided over Egypt’s worst human rights crisis in the country in decades. Egyptian authorities have arrested or charged at least 60,000 people, forcibly disappeared hundreds for months at a time, handed down preliminary death sentences to hundreds more, and sent more than 15,000 civilians to military courts. The primary target has been the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition movement, but almost no single peaceful group escaped the repression.

Currently, France maintains a peaceful, working relationship with Egypt, “centered on military and security cooperation,” counterterrorism, and Stabilization of Libya. In promoting these efforts, France aids in Egypt’s weapons inventory, signing export deals for military equipment and weapons totaling roughly $10 billion since 2014.

HRW suggested that France halt exporting military aid until Egypt suspends human rights violations. In continuing to export weapons to Egypt, HRW claims France is in violation of the conclusion of the EU Foreign Affairs Council and the European Council Common Position to “deny an export license if there is a clear risk that the military technology or equipment to be exported might be used for internal repression,” or “in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

Macron has stated that he will discuss human rights violations with al-Sisi but his main concern will center on Egypt’s continued fight against terrorism [Reuters report].