March 31, 2017
Trump's Failure to Raise Human Rights Concerns Publicly with Egyptian President Will Undermine U.S. Interests
New York City—Following statements made today that President Trump will not publicly raise human rights concerns with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during their meeting at the White House on Monday, Human Rights First warned that ignoring Egypt's ongoing repression would undermine U.S. national security interests.
“President Trump says he wants to focus bilateral talks on security, but what drives insecurity in Egypt is the government's harsh repression," said Human Rights First's Neil Hicks. “When human rights are not protected, instability fuels the very extremism that President Trump says he is trying to combat. If President Trump fails to raise human rights concerns with President Sisi, he is by definition undermining the global struggle against terrorism and violent extremism.”
The organization also welcomes the bipartisan Egypt resolution to be introduced Monday in the Senate that offers continuing U.S. support to Egypt in its efforts “to confront legitimate threats,” while also calling on Egypt’s leaders to “take steps towards meaningful political and human rights reforms.” The resolution, sponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), sets out specific demands, including the immediate release of unjustly detained American citizens, such as Aya Hijazi, held on baseless charges since May 2014; and an end to the harassment and interference in the operations of independent civil society organizations, including an end to the investigation and prosecution of civil society activists under Case 173.
“The Senate resolution gives appropriate weight to the need for President Sisi’s Egypt to put an end to the repressive policies that are denying basic rights and freedoms to the Egyptian people,” added Hicks.
For more information or to speak with Hicks contact Mary Elizabeth Margolis at [email protected] or 212-845-5269.