Egypt Watch

UN renews its concern over human rights in Egypt

The United Nations renewed its concern about the arrest of activists and human rights defenders in Egypt. This statement came at a press conference held by Stefan Dujarric, spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on Monday. The spokesman responded to a question about the Egyptian General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi receiving a French medal last week, despite the increasing number of detainees in his country. Dujarric said: “I do not have to comment on the [French] government’s decisions.” However, what I can say is that we have expressed, at various times, our concerns about the arrest of human rights defenders.

Egypt recently released three human rights activists from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. Activists said it was after an unprecedented international campaign of criticism that has continued for years.

Regarding France’s declaration not to link arms sales to human rights in Egypt, Dujarric said: “I think that every country that sells weapons has to make decisions. They have to assume responsibility for these sales, and this applies to every source of weapons.” It is noteworthy that France is now ahead of the United States in arms sales to Egypt, achieving military sales of 1.4 billion euros in 2017, according to the French newspaper Le Monde.

Last week, French media revealed that French President Emmanuel Macron presented al-Sisi with the highest French medal during his visit last week to Paris. The Elysee confirmed this news Thursday after the Egyptian president’s office published photos of the ceremony. Cairo faces international criticism regarding restricting freedoms and arresting dissidents, but Cairo repeatedly affirms its keenness to adhere to the law and human rights principles.