Constitutional amendments in Egypt: game over for the revolution

Press release
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Today, the Egyptian Parliament is examining constitutional amendments that, if adopted, would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in power until 2034, institutionalising a hardened form of autocracy, including by removing the limit of two four-year presidential mandates. They would also constitutionalise the lack of independence of the judiciary and further undermine the separation of powers by giving unchecked powers to the military by allowing it, amongst others, to depose elected officials and to prosecute political opponents. EuroMed Rights, FIDH, the Egyptian Human Rights Forum and the French Human Rights League (Ligue des droits de l’Homme) condemn these in the strongest terms at a press conference held in Paris today.

The speakers include Alain Gresh, director of online newspaper “Orient XXI” and Middle East and North Africa specialist; Claire Talon, researcher, former correspondent for “Le Monde” newspaper in Egypt and former director of the Middle East and North Africa division at FIDH; Amr Waked and Khaled Abol Naga, two Egyptian actors who have recently been subject to retaliation and intimidation following their participation in human rights advocacy activities in Washington D.C. The panellists voice their strong opposition to the amendments, which would be a severe blow to human rights and the rule of law in Egypt.

The undersigned organisations stand in solidarity with human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in Egypt who have been exposed to reprisals and harassment for speaking out against these dictatorial constitutional amendments.

"The human rights situation has deteriorated under President al-Sisi, fuelling constant political, social and economic grievances and leaving the fabric of Egyptian society torn and frail. the current proposed constitutional amendments by the executive-dominated parliament add another incendiary component to this volatile trajectory, likely leading to undesirable medium-term repercussions. We call upon all free-minded people to resist these amendments and vote no to all proposals aiming to destabilise Egypt ."

Moataz El Fegiery, co-Founder and Secretary General of the Egyptian Human Rights Forum

"This the latest step of consolidation of authoritarian power in a context of generalised crackdown on civil society which has worsened significantly since President al-Sisi acceded to power. Arbitrary detentions, travel bans, asset freezes, closure of NGOs and intimidation: there seems to be no limit to the repression inflicted upon those who dare to speak out."

Wadih Al Asmar, President of EuroMed Rights

"“One of the revolution’s last surviving achievements could be taken away from the Egyptian people as these constitutional amendments revive the possibility of a lifelong Presidency. Foreign allies of al-Sisi’s military regime must condemn them firmly and reconsider their support to this authoritarian regime."

Eleonore Morel, CEO of FIDH

"The French government’s unwavering support for the Egyptian President has a direct impact on the deterioration of the situation of fundamental rights in Egypt. It gives a green light to the unprecedented suppression of freedoms in Egypt, whereas France’s exports of weapons and technology for surveillance, mass interception and crowd control likely serve to reinforce an all-out system of repression rather than an effective fight against terrorism, which is far from bearing fruit in Egypt and surrounding countries.."

Malik Salemkour, President of Ligue des droits de l’Homme

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