CPJ calls on Biden to demand releasing journalists detained in Egypt

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During his Middle East tour, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement calling on US President Joe Biden to take concrete action on press freedom, including releasing imprisoned journalists.

Amnesty International has also released a statement saying that Biden must deliver on a promise since taking office to put human rights at the centre of his first visit to the Middle East and do everything in his power to press for immediate and fundamental change. “The Biden administration must end its egregious support for the horrific crimes and gross human rights abuses of its allies and stop facilitating endemic abuses in a climate of impunity,” said Paul O’Brien, Executive Director at Amnesty International USA. “President Biden should seize this opportunity to prioritize the advancement of human rights over short-term interests and make clear that double standards are not permitted in pursuing human rights. Suppose the United States continues on its current course. In that case, all it will achieve is encourage abuser governments to continue to silence dissent, suppress minorities, and ruthlessly crush the rights of millions.” The rights group added that the Egyptian authorities intensified their campaign to cover up their appalling human rights record ahead of the country’s hosting of the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27) in November.

The statement stated that the human rights crisis in Egypt is characterized by entrenched impunity for killings, torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, suppression of freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and crackdowns on human rights organizations. Egypt is one country that benefits the most from US military aid.

The rights group urged Biden to pressure Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, publicly and privately, to undertake meaningful and long-term human rights reforms, beginning with the unconditional release of all arbitrarily detained persons. It also urged Egyptian authorities to permanently close criminal investigations into the work of human rights groups.