Egypt refugees urge UK PM to revoke Sisi's COP26 invite

Egyptian refugees urge British PM to withdraw Sisi's COP26 invite
3 min read
28 October, 2021
Egyptian refugees have signed a letter urging British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to 'immediately withdraw' an invitation to Egypt President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference over human rights concerns.
Sisi has been criticised for his human rights record [Getty]

Egyptian refugees have signed a letter urging British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “immediately withdraw” an invitation to Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference over human rights concerns.

The letter, which was shared by Egyptian journalist Osama Gaweesh to his nearly half a million Twitter followers, also calls on Britain to confront Sisi on the human rights situation in Egypt and to stand in support of the country's political prisoners.

“We are deeply concerned to hear that the UK government has invited the Egyptian dictator Abdelfattah Al-Sisi to join the COP26 Summit in Glasgow next month," the letter reads.

"Abdelfattah Al-Sisi the perpetrator of several human rights violations and has persecuted the innocent civilians in his own country for the sole reason that they question his governance. He has the blood of thousands of Egyptians on his hands. He is the reason for thousands more losing their homes.”

The open letter, which is signed by 40 Egyptian refugees living in the UK, speaks of people in Egypt being denied “basic human rights”.

“Media has been suppressed and many journalists have been arrested and abused. More than 6000 political prisoners are now behind bars in horrific inhuman conditions for speaking against Sisi,” the letter went on to say, adding that hosting Sisi will “provide an opportunity for his regime to whitewash the appalling human rights record of his authoritarian regime”.

The New Arab contacted the Cabinet Office’s COP26 office for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Under Sisi, there has been a far-reaching crackdown on political dissent, which activists say has left tens of thousands jailed.

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Sisi has denied that there are political prisoners in Egypt and says that the state is providing rights by promoting economic and social development.

Egypt's state of emergency will be lifted for the first time in years, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said last week.

Egypt imposed a state of emergency in April 2017 after deadly bombings of churches and has since routinely extended it at three-month intervals, despite an improved security situation.

Cairo must also end "many other emergency-law-like restrictions on civic participation, freedom of speech, and peaceful assembly," Human Rights Watch said in response to the lifting.