For Immediate Release: August 15, 2013
New York City – Human Rights First praised President Barack Obama’s strong condemnation of the bloody crackdown on those protesters supporting ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt yesterday. However, Human Rights First is disappointed in the administration’s decision to stay silent on the issue of aid, and is concerned that words of condemnation and canceling planned joint military exercises between Egypt and the United States may not be enough to persuade Egypt’s military-backed rulers to take a different course.
“The violence Egypt has seen over the past few days is an indication of the failure of U.S. policy to address the challenges of the Arab Spring countries,” said Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks. “The promise of Tahrir Square in 2011 has been shattered, and the U.S. government needs to take actions that demonstrate that it stands firmly for the universal values of human rights that alone can provide a better future for the people of the region.”
Human Rights First urges the Obama Administration to immediately suspend military assistance to Egypt and to condition the resumption of its aid on the Egyptian authorities implementing a credible, inclusive process of reconciliation leading to the restoration of a civilian-led government with control over the military and security forces.
In his speech today, President Obama also rightly called for an end to state of emergency that has been enacted by the Egyptian military and called on the Egyptian government to protect women and religious minorities. Human Rights First noted that it is the military’s responsibility to proactively protect churches and religious minorities from violent attacks. The past few days has seen a troubling rise of sectarianism and attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt.
“Failure of U.S. policy in Egypt will have broader implications for U.S. relations with countries in the rest of the Arab world, many of which are now struggling with their own transitions,” said Hicks.
For more information or to speak with Hicks, contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.