Egypt is hosting an Africa human rights summit, while its government is presiding over the worst human rights crisis in the country in recent decades, 15 African, Egyptian, and international organizations said.
The 64th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the African Union’s top rights body, will place from April 24 to May 14 in Sharm al-Sheikh. In addition to its systematic failure to respect and protect human rights at home, Egypt has also led efforts to undermine the commission’s independence," the organizations accused.
“Egypt is trying to appear like a country open for human rights delegates and summits while, at the same time, crushing all dissenting voices and its once-vibrant human rights community,” said Michael Page, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “We know that many Egyptian and international organizations are not allowed to work freely in Egypt and cannot voice concerns without severe retaliation from the government.”
For the signatories of this declaration, the commission should ensure that all government and nongovernment delegations are able to participate freely in the summit. It should also make clear that it will strongly address any measures of reprisals by the Egyptian authorities against criticism of its practices.
“Through such summits, Egypt is trying to whitewash its dire record of abuses,” George Kegoro, executive director of Kenya Human Rights Commission said. “The African human rights commission should take the opportunity of this meeting to vigorously engage the Egypt government on its own actions that threaten the rights, and the very lives, of many Egyptians.”
The co-signing organizations are:
Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies
Belady Center for Rights and Freedoms
Business and Human Rights Tanzania
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Committee for Justice|
Egyptian Front for Human Rights
Human Rights Watch
International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI)
Kenya Human Rights Commission
Ligue Sénégalaise des Droits Humains (LSDH)
Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC)
The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
The Freedom Initiative
The International Commission of Jurists