On Tuesday, corresponding to 17.11.2020, Democracy Centre for Transparency hosted a webinar on Human Rights Situation in Egypt.
The webinar was attended by Mr. Fabio Massimo Castaldo, the vice president of the European Parliament, MS. Maria Laura Franciosi , the chair founder of Brussels press club and a journalist on European Affairs, Dr. Leslie Piquemal, Senior EU Advocacy representative at Cairo institution for human rights studies and Mr.Tarek Mahmoud, an Egyptian journalist and former head of the office of Egyptian news agency Mena.
Mr.Castaldo started the briefing with some introductory remarks on the situation in Egypt. He also added “ since president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi came to power in 2013, the human rights situation has deteriorated in a catastrophic way, and this is also demonstrated by the wave of arrests following the protests of last fall against corruption in the government.
He mentioned that Cairo is an important partner for the European Union on the economic level , on the migration issue and for regional stability, and Europe can’t stay silent , dialogue must be intensified to maintain good relations with Cairo.
Tackling the issue of the political sphere and the public space closure in Egypt , Dr.Piquemal emphasized the rollback of democracy in Egypt which has increased and accelerated in 2018 during the president show election, in 2019 constitutional amendments, andin 2020 legislative elections which are still ongoing. All these events involved a very broad and general denial of citizenship righta to a free participation in public affairs. Added Ms. Piquemal.
She also referred to preventing candidates of opposition parties from organizing those own compsignes. Piquemal asserted that the constitutional amendments in 2019 were meant to extend Alsisi’s time in power, to constitutionalize the executive authority to grant the military custadionshiip on Egyptian citizens and democracy.
In the context of frredom of expression,Ms. Maria Laura Franciosi confirmed that critisims is a genuine right in the press, condemning the closure of human rights websites in Egypt, and sending defenders behind bars. Ms. Maria strongly believe that the European Union does not seem to do much against the alarming situation of freedom of expression in Egypt.
Ms. Franciosi continued to catgorically deplore all forms of abuse against journalists and human rights defenders, remembering the brutal killing of the Italian journalist Giulio Regeni who was prepareing for his PH.D assertation. She ended with calling upon the European Union to act more firmly against these practices against freedom of expression.
The seminar ended wirh the contribution of the Egyptian journalist Tarek Mahmoud who pointed out that the Egyptian authorities always accuse journalists and human rights defenders of international conspiracy against Egypt. Mr. Mahmoud reviewed that 90 journalists are in prison and 12 were killed since 2011, reminding when the journalist Regeni was tortured to death, and other 5 people paid the cost and there were killed as well.
Mr. Mahmoud further said that Alsisi manipulates both Muslims and Christians, making them afraid of each other; Alsisi is playing the same game in Sinai.
Mr. Tarek lamented why the European Union is not spending adequate efforts to stop the unbearable situation in Egypt, warning of a dark future in continuation of violations against human rights in terms of impunity, forced disapprance, torture, and confiscation of basic rights.