Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.
The strong recommendations received during this UPR cycle for Egypt, including on upholding its domestic legislative and constitutional human rights guarantees, particularly in the context of counterterrorism, investigating excessive use of force by security forces during demonstrations, and criminalizing all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, reflects growing concerns across the board about the worsening human rights situation in the country.
As in its previous UPR cycles, Egypt has rejected key recommendations on critically important human rights issues, including establishing a moratorium on the application of the death penalty with a view to abolishing it and ending brutal crackdowns on peaceful dissent and restrictions on freedom of assembly.
Similarly worrying is Egypt’s rejection of recommendations geared towards investigating serious abuses such as extrajudicial killings, torture and forced disappearances perpetrated by security forces in the name of their abusive “war on terror.”
We are deeply concerned that the responses provided by the Egyptian government during this session fail to match the reality on the ground, where Egyptians are facing the worst human rights crisis in decades. The Egyptian government’s response, both in this session, in this Council, and in general, has at best depicted violations as isolated to a few incidents, and at worse amounted to a near-absolute denial that such a crisis is currently unfolding. This denial means that perpetrators continue to enjoy impunity that has only encouraged them to go on with their grave abuses.
We remind the Council and the Egyptian delegation that Egypt has supported many recommendations in the previous cycles, but the Egyptian government in recent years has utterly failed to respect its own promises to commit to protect basic human rights. We see overwhelming reports by the media and human rights organizations, including by the UN special procedures, that violations are only worsening and that Egypt is not taking any effective measures to stop the ongoing crisis especially the mass arbitrary arrests of thousands, the near-daily enforced disappearances and horrific torture as well as the nationwide crackdown on civil society and NGOs and the prosecutions of leading activists who work to uncover such abuses.
Egypt has repeatedly failed to address these alarming human rights concerns, including through its UPRs. Human Rights Watch calls upon States at the Human Rights Council to urgently step in and press for the release of thousands of jailed peaceful activists and individuals, and for an end to violations, including rampant torture and unlawful killings, and demand accountability.