The ICJ denounces ongoing civil society crackdown through Egypt’s abuse of counter-terrorism measures

The ICJ denounced today the ongoing civil society crackdown through Egypt’s abuse of counter-terrorism measures at the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism.

The statement reads as follows:

“Madam Special Rapporteur,

Despite Egypt’s formal lifting of the state of emergency, its authorities are responsible for a relentless crackdown on civil society under the guise of “combatting terrorism.” Human rights defenders, lawyers and civil society actors are systematically targeted for arbitrary arrests and detention, and criminal trials before exceptional courts based on trumped up “terrorism-related” charges, solely for their engagement in favour of human rights.

Moreover, Egypt’s legislative framework purporting to counter “terrorism” – especially its overly broad and vague “terrorism” definition itself – enables the authorities to use it to punish and silence legitimate exercise of human rights, such as the right to freedom of expression. Ahead of the CoP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, for example, dozens of people were arrested in connection with calls to protest, and several reportedly faced charges of “joining a terrorist group.”

Egypt’s “terrorist list” is also regularly used to severely restrict civic space. Since their arrest on terrorism-related charges, activist Alaa Abdel Fattah and lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer, for example, were arbitrarily added to Egypt’s “terrorist list”, resulting in an asset freeze, travel ban and a five-year prohibition from engaging in political or civil work.

The ICJ reiterates its calls on this Council to establish an independent monitoring mechanism to address Egypt’s ongoing abuse of “counter-terrorism” measures.

I thank you.”

Statement delivered by: Collin Christener

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