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April 23, 2014

United States to Resume Some Military Aid to Egypt

Washington, D.C.  – Human Rights First today expressed serious concern over reports that the Obama Administration will resume some military aid to Egypt, including the delivery of ten Apache helicopters to the Egyptian military. Secretary of State John Kerry announced yesterday that he is certifying to Congress that the Egyptian government is “sustaining the strategic relationship,” and upholding its peace treaty with Israel.  The organization agrees with the secretary’s statement that the United States “is not yet able to certify that Egypt is taking steps to support a democratic transition,” and urges the U.S. government to ensure that assistance to Egypt is linked to clear progress towards human rights goals. 

“This kind of mixed messaging from the administration will only create more distrust and misunderstanding among the Egyptian government and civil society fighting for democracy and human rights,” noted Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks.  “Egypt cannot be a reliable strategic partner for the United States while its government is engaging in widespread repression and disregard of basic rights and freedoms.  Such policies will only lead to more instability and violence.  Far from countering the threat of transnational terrorism, as the State Department’s statement claims, the current policies pursued by the Egyptian government have contributed to a steep escalation in terrorist incidents in Egypt.  The type of repression now being inflicted on the Islamist political opposition in Egypt contributed to the growth of transnational terrorist organizations that attacked the United States in the past.”

Since the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, the military-backed government has engaged in a brutal crackdown on political opposition, including killing thousands of demonstrators, jailing thousands of political prisoners - mostly but not exclusively, Muslim Brotherhood supporters - and prosecuting civil society activists and journalists to stifle dissent.

Human Rights First urges the United States to stand up consistently for universal values and human rights, the rule of law, and for the development of inclusive, civilian government that can serve the interests of all Egyptians.  U.S. assistance to Egypt should be linked to clear progress towards human rights goals.

For more information or to speak with Hicks contact Mary Elizabeth Margolis at margolisme@humanrightsfirst.org