EU-Egypt: a strategic partnership for whom?

The Egyptian Human Rights Forum (EHRF)  joined a press conference today at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, addressing the EU-Egypt strategic partnership and its impact on human rights.

The event was hosted by Mounir SATOURI, the European Parliament’s standing rapporteur for Egypt, and Tineke STRIK, the Parliament’s rapporteur on the external dimension of EU migration policy, both from the Greens/EFA group. They were joined by Karen MELCHIOR, the Renew Europe coordinator on the Legal Affairs Committee, CIHRS and Euro-Med rights  as well as two guest speakers: Moataz el Fegiery, an Egyptian human rights defender and member of the Executive Committee of EuroMed Rights, and Samar el Husseiny, the Programs Officer at EHRF.

In his opening remarks, Mounir SATOURI emphasized the need for the EU to leverage its partnership with Egypt to push for tangible improvements in the country’s human rights situation. “The EU-Egypt relationship should not come at the expense of fundamental freedoms and the protection of human rights defenders,” he stated.

Tineke STRIK echoed these concerns, highlighting the ongoing crackdown on civil society in Egypt. “We cannot ignore the reality of human rights abuses in the country. Any new agreements must include binding commitments and clear benchmarks to ensure progress is made.”

Karen MELCHIOR underlined the importance of the European Parliament’s role in scrutinizing the EU-Egypt partnership, stating, “The Parliament will closely monitor the negotiations and ensure that human rights are at the forefront of the EU’s engagement with Cairo.”

Moataz el Fegiery, representing the Egyptian human rights community, shared his perspectives on the challenges faced by defenders in the country. “The Egyptian government continues to suppress dissent and restrict the space for independent voices. We urge the EU to use its leverage to push for genuine reforms.”

Samar el Husseiny, from EHRF, emphasized the organization’s commitment to amplifying the voices of Egyptian civil society “This regime’s actions speak louder than their words, and your support for this deal without clear and precise  benchmarks will only encourage its repressive tactics. It is time to take a strong stand and put human rights at the center of your agenda. “

The press conference provided a platform for EHRF and its partners to directly engage with EU policymakers and raise awareness about the human rights situation in Egypt. The event underscored the pivotal role of the European Parliament in scrutinizing the EU-Egypt strategic partnership and ensuring that it aligns with the Union’s values and principles.

Full press conference here.

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