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Sisi regime extends repressive state of emergency whilst hosting African Union human rights session

Sisi has extended Egypt's state of emergency [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 April, 2019

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Egypt has extended a state of emergency in its latest crackdown on human rights, whilst hosting an African Union human rights session.

Egypt has renewed its state of emergency for another three months and has imposed a curfew in some parts of the northern Sinai Peninsula.

This development comes a day after the country began hosting an African Union human rights session, causing rights groups to draw criticisms of the contradiction behind them hosting such a session whilst simultaneously violating human rights.

“Egypt is trying to appear like a country open for human rights delegates and sessions while, at the same time, crushing all dissenting voices and its once-vibrant human rights community,” said Michael Page, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“We know that many Egyptian and international organisations are not allowed to work freely in Egypt and cannot voice concerns without severe retaliation from the government.”

The 64th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights began on April 24 and will continue in Sharm al-Sheikh until May 14.

The emergency law expands police powers of arrest, surveillance and seizures and can limit freedom of movement.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi first declared the heightened security state following a bombing of Coptic Christian churches in April 2017 by extremists.

Since then the state of emergency has been renewed by parliament every three months.

When emergency laws were first introduced, critics raised fears that authorities would use the heightened measures to crackdown on political opponents and expand extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, without stopping terrorist attacks.

Sisi, a former army chief who led the military in ousting the country's first freely elected president Mohamed Morsi, is accused of leading a relentless crackdown on both pro-democracy campaigners and Islamists.

The majority of experts view Sisi's government as the most repressive in the history of modern Egypt.

 

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