A delegation of 13 MPs accused the Egyptian government of failing to properly communicate and clarify issues of public importance to the international community, resulting in the media being the only source of information on Egypt for Europe.
Local news websites published Wednesday a copy of a parliamentary report regarding a visit conducted between 11 and 14 April to the European Parliament.
The eight-page report was submitted by Ahmed Saaed, the head of the delegation of Egyptian MPs that visited the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
The visit comes amid widespread anger and condemnation in parliament over a European Parliament resolution issued on Egypt in March. The resolution highlighted the case of murdered Italian PhD candidate Giulio Regeni, and widened the scope of criticism to highlight other violations against human rights and freedom of speech in Egypt.
“Our mission comes amid the most critical time for the Egyptian people, who are facing great internal and external challenges, and amid harsh circumstances where Egyptians are trying to reconstruct [the country] destroyed by years of chaos, and countering terrorism in Sinai, as well as fight plans and campaigns by the enemies of Egypt,” read the report’s introduction, addressed to Parliament Speaker Ali Abdul Aal.
Saeed said the goal of the visit was to first clarify the truth about the situation in Egypt, supported with evidence, to face “misleading, distorting, and systematic campaigns in the press, parliament, and human rights communities”.
However, the report does not include concrete evidence of specific incidents, nor did it cite the sources upon which the MPs relied to describe human rights conditions in Egypt. It often makes generalised statements on “conspiracies against Egypt led by the Muslim Brotherhood”.
On the other hand, the European Parliament included references to several resolutions, agreements, and UN conventions on human rights that Egypt is bound by. Additionally, it cited a local Egyptian NGO, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), to refer to t 1,700 cases of enforced disappearances “at the hands of the state security forces in 2015” in Egypt.
In response, Egyptian MPs stated that among the reported cases of disappearances are Muslim Brotherhood members who left the country illegally and are currently “either in Europe or joined the Islamic State group”.
Meanwhile, in reference to the Regeni case, which was not mentioned until the third page of the report, the MPs explained to European counterparts that they could not discuss the details of investigations of the case, but demanded the Egyptian parliament speaker provide MPs with regular updates on the case’s progress.
The delegation further responded to other issues put forth by the European Parliament’s resolution, which they referred to as a “hasty reaction, based on incorrect information”.
The resolution tackled the “arbitrary closure attempt” that targeted the El Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, to which the Egyptian MP delegation responded that it does not fall within the centre’s role to address the status of human rights in Egypt.
The delegation’s report concluded that the lack of proper communication and clarifications on the part of Egyptian officials is the main problem between the European and Egyptian parliaments, calling for more “parliament to parliament dialogue”.