The representative of the Mediterranean Alliance sharply criticized the Egyptian regime during her speech at the World Youth Forum, held in Sharm El-Sheikh.
She said that despite the limited development in Egypt, which was demonstrated in the adoption of the National Human Rights Strategy last September, the coalition remains concerned about discrimination against women, minorities and other vulnerable communities, as well as cases of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and repression of civil society. She added that the pandemic had exacerbated the deteriorating situation of prisoners in Egypt, in light of a limited government response, which led to violations of the human rights of these vulnerable groups. It also appealed to the Egyptian authorities to take prompt corrective measures to ensure full respect for human rights. After the speech, Egypt demanded the right to respond, describing what was stated as mere allegations and rejecting it all.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi commented, claiming that the reality in his country is not so. He said that this is a very harsh speech, and a form of insult to the Egyptian state, intentionally or unintentionally. He added that human rights should not be reduced to freedom of expression and political practice only and that Egypt is keen on these rights in light of its beliefs and ideas, without falling under any kind of pressure. He said: “There is a need for an integrated and comprehensive approach to the situation in Egypt… We should take into consideration issues such as providing job opportunities, the right to housing, health care, and appropriate education as fundamental human rights.” He added, “Egypt affirms its respect for human rights, especially the right to express an opinion, but rejects domestic and international criticism and lies in this regard.” He emphasized: “Human rights are not limited to one aspect only. Our situation in Egypt imposes on us a comprehensive approach to human rights, in connection with the challenges facing the state.”