Egypt: 200 NGOs and individuals urge authorities to end crackdown on peaceful dissent

About 200 organizations and  individuals call on Egyptian authorities to address their human rights crisis ahead of  COP27, including lifting restrictions of civic space and release everyone arbitrarily detained in the country.

Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference 2022 (COP27) taking place in Egypt’s resort town of Sharm El Sheikh from 7 to18 November 2022, the rights organizations, groups and individuals noted with great concern the human rights situation in Egypt.

The NGOs stressed, in particular, the need for the government to end restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, which risk to undermine a successful, inclusive and participatory climate summit.

Thr organizatons and  individuals that have signed a petition including their demands, urged the Egyptian authorities to open civic space, end the crackdown on freedoms, including freedom of association, independent groups, and peaceful dissent.

The NGOs voiced support to the call made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association: that the work of civil society be recognized, publicly and at the highest levels, as essential to the advancement of climate action and just transition.

Moreover, they stressed the importance of the right to freedom of expression and independent reporting to foster efforts to address the climate crisis.

They emphasized that effective climate action is not possible without open civic space.

“As host of COP27, Egypt risks compromising the success of the summit if it does not urgently address ongoing arbitrary restrictions on civil society.”

They called on Egyptian government to ensure that civil society organizations, activists, and communities can meaningfully participate in all discussions and activities on climate and just-transition policy development and implementation at all levels of decision-making without fear of reprisals.

They urged authorities to put in place transparent and inclusive processes to ensure that everyone, including women, Indigenous peoples and local communities, workers, youth, children, persons with disabilities, and other groups facing marginalization or discrimination, is provided with equal opportunities to effectively participate in climate decision-making.

The NGOs and individuals called on the government to end the prosecutions of civil society activists and organizations and guarantee space for civil society—including human rights defenders—to work without fear of intimidation, harassment, arrest, detention, or any other form of reprisal, including by releasing of unjustly jailed human rights defenders, lifting arbitrarily travel bans and asset freezes and closing all politically-motivated cases against activists targeted for their human rights work.

The petition signed by more than 200 rights organizations and individuals concluded with stating that “the Egyptian authorities must take meaningful steps to address the human rights crisis, including by lifting restrictions of civic space and ending their crackdown on peaceful dissent”.

The signatories included the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Committee for Justice (CFJ), Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR), Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), EgyptWide for Human Rights, El Nadeem Center Against Violence and Torture, Refugees Platform in Egypt (RPE), Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), The Freedom Initiative (FI), and the Egyptian Human Rights Forum.