Greek officials 'worked to stall EU criticism' of Egypt's appalling human rights record
A leaked memo claims that Egyptian foreign ministry officials worked together with Greek diplomats to mitigate criticism of Cairo's horrific human rights abuses, according to reports.
The memo describes concerted efforts by Greek officials to pressure their European Union counterparts to drop any reference to Egypt in a 2017 statement to the UN Human Rights Council or block any objections to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s abysmal human rights record, Middle East Eye reported.
The memo was reportedly written by foreign ministry officials under incumbent Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Egypt is holding thousands of political detainees without charge, with evidence of widespread torture.
1/7 According to leaked documents, Egyptian officials identified France, Greece, Hungary & Cyprus as "soft spots" willing to help them water down @EU_UNGeneva's criticism of #Egypt's abysmal human rights record at the UN: https://t.co/olN3kSYiUJ— Claudio Francavilla (@ClaFrancavilla) March 7, 2022
And it worked. Thread below 👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/fcmfDS4ftu
"Greek diplomats reported that they issued instructions to request the complete deletion of the reference to Egypt, yet they realise that this is almost impossible in light of the resistance they encounter from important and influential countries within the EU," read the memo read.
If unsuccessful, the diplomats would "aim to amend and mitigate the statement as much as possible", and try to delete any references to "extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances" from the statement.
#Egypt is in a human rights crisis. Freedom of speech is being curtailed, dissidents oppressed, journalists mulled and the world is failing to react. Me and 174 signatories, from all over EU call on the @UN_HRC to establish a HR monitoring mechanism in Egypt. Join our call. pic.twitter.com/2QPO8bP4oo— Jan-Christoph Oetjen (@jcoetjen) February 3, 2022
The revelation comes just a month after 175 European politicians from 13 states published an open letter in February 2022 detailing Egypt's human rights abuses and urged the UN to establish a structure to monitor human rights in Egypt.
Egypt's abysmal human rights record since President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took power in a 2013 coup is well documented.
Tens of thousands of political prisoners and government critics have reportedly been tortured, disappeared, exiled or languish in Egypt’s jails.
Reporters Without Borders have called the country "one of the world’s biggest jailers of journalists" and ranked Egypt 166 out of 180 in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index.