Washington Post Editorial Highlights Lack of Reform in Egypt
By Dawes Cooke
Yesterday’s editorial by the Washington Post is a sobering counterpoint to Secretary of State John Kerry’s optimism about Egypt and its path toward democracy. Human Rights First has previously reported that human rights abuses and repression of dissent in Egypt escalated since the 2013 coup, and joins the Washington Post in arguing that Egypt’s government is not moving toward democracy and does not merit aid from the U.S. government.
Civil society and human rights activists in Egypt have reported alarming tendencies of the interim military government, currently led by General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Mass arrests of both liberal secular activists and Muslim Brotherhood supporters, crackdowns on protests and dissent in the media, and the frequent use of the judiciary system to punish opponents of Sisi’s government suggest that Egypt is become not more but less democratic. The interim government will be in power until Egypt holds presidential elections later this year, but Sisi seems to be the only candidate in an election that the Washington Post says is shaping up to be “grotesquely one-sided.”
Secretary Kerry will decide soon whether to resume military aid to Egypt. Congress has required Mr. Kerry to show that Egypt is moving toward democracy before payments can be continued. Human Rights First joins the Washington Post in expressing concern at Mr. Kerry’s assurance that aid would be moving forward soon.
Making exceptions for some countries undermines the U.S. government’s ability to promote democracy and respect for human rights globally. In order to be able to condemn human rights abuses anywhere, the United States must condemn them everywhere.