President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s severe negligence of the key principles of the United Nation’s principles of human rights has chased him all the way to New York, where he is attending the UN general assembly. Al-Sisi has faced a backlash from both national and international activists for turning a blind eye to his country’s arbitrary detentions and crackdown on dissent.
The Free Alaa Abdel Fattah campaign released a statement on Tuesday, which said that while Al-Sisi speaks before the UN, he is neglecting its recommendations. The UN Human Rights Council considered the detention of Abdel Fattah as an arbitrary detention in April 2016. Abdel Fattah received a five-year prison sentence and EGP 100,000 fine on charges of assaulting police officers and illegal protesting, in the case known as the “Shura council” case.
On the other hand, MP Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat stated that the criticism Egypt receives from the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR)—about the restrictions imposed on non-governmental organisations, as well as orders for travel bans and the freezing of assets against activists—is an expected result of what the security bodies do and the restrictions they impose, especially on the Human Rights Committee in parliament and the National Council for Human Rights.
Al-Sadat compared the incompetent policies of the security bodies to the “Smart Initiatives” Al-Sisi is taking by informing the US of Egypt’s steps in defending human rights, including providing the names of those released by presidential pardon to the US.
The MP stepped down earlier this month from his post as the head of the Human Rights Committee. In his resignation letter, he said the committee was not given a sufficient space to work.
Prior to Al-Sisi’s bilateral meeting with US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a group of American rights activists and academics released a joint letter in which they denounced the meeting. The letter said: “since the military coup that took place in 2013, the human rights abuses have increased throughout the era of Al-Sisi.” The meeting will imply that the United States embraces what he does, the letter read.
The UN’s Human Rights Council is currently holding its regular session. Founder of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Bahey Al-Din Hassan, said in the session that his assets have been frozen along with the assets of other rights activists. Hassan said that this will hinder the role of uncovering the violations of human rights. He further added that it is expected that the crackdown on dissent will increase over the next few months under the era of a corrupted military regime.
During his interview with PBS, Al-Sisi was asked about the human rights situation in Egypt, but he adhered to the usual answer, he said that the judicial institution’s decisions in Egypt should be respected.