Misuse of counter-terrorism measures in Egypt enables suppression of civil society, says rights groups

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The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, consisting of 12 human rights groups, has expressed its support for independent civil society activists in Egypt, calling on the Egyptian government to enable them to carry out their legitimate and peaceful activities, without retaliation, intimidation, defamation, detention, prosecution or violence. “The misuse of counter-terrorism legislation and measures by the government enables the suppression of civil society activists, human rights lawyers, journalists, academics, political figures and other peaceful opponents in Egypt,” it said in a recent statement. It said Egypt holds about 60,000 political prisoners, including prominent activists, lawyers, journalists, political figures, and environmental rights activists. Their detention, it added, is based on false accusations of supporting terrorism.

The rights coalition considered Egypt’s hosting of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference controversial. “While the international community recognizes the essential role of civil society in tackling the climate crisis, and the United Nations Climate Change Convention obligates countries to promote and facilitate public participation in tackling climate change, Egypt’s crackdown on independent civil society, the media, and peaceful dissent have a chilling effect on public participation,” it noted. The rights coalition stressed that there is no climate justice without free space for civil society.