Egypt: 4th « revolution » anniversary marks alarming decline of human rights

Press release
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Paris, 23 january 2015 - The human rights situation in Egypt has deteriorated at an unprecedented rate declared today FIDH, as the country celebrates the « revolution »’s 4th anniversary. In a document published on its website FIDH explains how the authorites are currently doing everything they can to silence any form of dissent or criticism of the government; such as protests, independent journalism, and even social media publications. FIDH is also particularly worried by the implementation of a strong anti-terrorism policy which completely disregards fundamental freedoms.

« Over the past months, Egypt has been going down a particularly dangerous path with regards to the respect of human rights. The international community is remaining totally silent, and it seems that the situation is not going to change » declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. « All this is alarming. »

Freedoms that were gained as a result of the January 25th revolution, are now being denied, in particular the right to peaceful protest. Human rights defenders, journalists and political opponents continue to be targeted and imprisoned. Independent media outlets continue to be censored. Most of the rights enshrined in Egypt’s 2014 constitution remain ink on paper, and the judicial authorities entrusted to uphold the rule of law have become the primary arm of state-repression.

The Egyptian judiciary has shown a double-standard for justice by exonerating state officials from any guilt in committing human rights violations on the one hand; and on the other, by issuing hefty prison terms against those who exercise their civil and political rights, including human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists.

Most of the trials are based on charges relating to the exercise of fundamental freedoms including freedom of expression, association and assembly. Severe prison sentences reaching up to life imprisonment and death penalties have been handed down in particular against supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in trials that are marred by irregularities and violations of due process. Mass death sentences have drastically increased since Summer 2013.

Following the adoption of a presidential decree expanding the scope of military jurisdiction in October 2014, the Egyptian judiciary has referred hundreds of civilians to military courts; in total contradiction with international standards. Furthermore, in September 2014, the president passed amendments to the Penal Code increasing the penalty for receiving foreign funding with the intention to “harm national security” to life imprisonment. A vague term that can easily be used to target independent civil society organizations.

Vulnerable groups including the LGBT community, have also been increasingly targeted by the regime with unprecedented waves of arbitrary arrest and trials. Charges of “practicing debauchery” have been regularly used to prosecute LGBT persons in flagrant violation of the rights to non-discrimination and privacy. Despite measures announced by the government to end violence against women and a few judicial proceedings against people accused of sexual violence against women, women continue to suffer from an epidemic of sexual violence.

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4th revolution anniversary marks alarming decline of Egypts human rights

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