Joint Statement: Democracy and Human Rights Groups Applaud Congressional Decision to Hold Egypt Military Aid


We applaud the decision made by Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) Chairman Ben Cardin, House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Ranking Member Gregory Meeks, and the other members of Congress who expressed support, to place a hold on the remaining $235 million in military aid to Egypt for Fiscal Year 2022 conditioned on human rights progress that the Biden administration had approved earlier this month for release.

This is welcome and urgently needed news, especially in light of allegations that the former SFRC chair, Senator Bob Menendez, facilitated military aid and shared sensitive information on U.S. embassy employees with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s authoritarian government in exchange for personal financial gain.

This decision is a needed first step both to hold the Egyptian regime accountable for its egregious human rights violations and to maintain public faith in Congress. This hold, and its support within Congress, loudly declares that U.S. lawmakers will not allow any foreign government—especially a supposed strategic partner of the United States—to compromise the integrity of the country’s democratic institutions. And it advances the shared interests of the Egyptian and American people to press for the upholding of human rights in Egypt.

We recognize and thank Chairman Cardin and Ranking Member Meeks for acting quickly at a sensitive political moment to uphold U.S. principles and Congress’s central role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. We also strongly support Chairman Cardin’s commitment to block future military funds and arms sales to Egypt’s government “if it does not take concrete, meaningful, and sustainable steps to improve human rights.” Given the scope of both the al-Sisi regime’s human rights violations and the shocking allegations made against a sitting senator, we believe that this move must be the beginning, and not the end, of bringing real accountability to the bilateral relationship.

The Biden administration should seize this opportunity to demonstrate to the people in Egypt and around the world that human rights can be at the center of U.S. foreign policy.


Belady-An Island For Humanity (BIH)

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)

Center for International Policy

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)

Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR)

Egyptian Human Rights Forum (EHRF)

EgyptWide for Human Rights


Foreign Policy for America

The Freedom Initiative

PEN America

Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)

The Tahrir Institute For Middle East Policy (TIMEP)

Win Without War

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Documents

International and Arab failure to prevent the annihilation of the Palestinian people must end

A Joint Statement by 48 Human Rights Organizations from Eight Arab Countries    The undersigned Arab human rights organizations call on permanent member states of the United  Nations Security Council and member states of the League of Arab States to take immediate action to  prevent the situation in Gaza from developing into the crime of genocide against Palestinian civilians.  The undersigned organizations urge these countries to assume their legal and political responsibility, and  urgently submit to the Security Council a draft resolution within the framework of Chapter 7 of the  United Nations Charter for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, immediately secure safe  humanitarian passages to deliver vital aid, and put an end to Israel’s use of starvation as a tactic of war.  The outbreak of the bloody events in Israel and Palestine began on 7 October 2023. American President  Joe Biden, his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have made  numerous irresponsible political statements affirming Israel’s absolute right, unconditional to respecting  international law, to defend itself in response to Hamas attacks. Biden, Macron and Sunak have not  prioritized the protection of civilians, as required by international humanitarian law and the laws of war.  They have further disregarded the principles of proportionality and distinction, which are applied in  armed conflicts to limit harm and damage to the civilian population and civilian infrastructure as a result  of military operations, and must be taken into consideration before directing military strikes.  Some of these countries have materially reinforced their irresponsible political statements by sending  war fleets, even after the occupation army began its retaliatory operations, directing its military strikes  against Palestinian civilians, and United Nations schools, hospitals and shelters in violation of all