A quick one from Reuters here that the US has rather unusually joined in UN criticism of human rights in Egypt.
The United States, which has observer status at the UN Human Rights Council, was among 31 signatories of the joint statement on Egypt, the first since 2014, which called on the government to lift curbs on freedoms of expression and assembly and to end the prosecution of activists, journalists and perceived political opponents
Egypt is a close ally of the United States, but the Biden administration has vowed to speak out about human rights violations and abuses of the rule of law worldwide.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013, has overseen an extensive crackdown on political dissent that has steadily tightened in recent years. For his part, Sisi has insisted that there are no political prisoners in Egypt and that stability and security are paramount.
“We urge Egypt to guarantee space for civil society – including human rights defenders – to work without fear of intimidation, harassment, arrest, detention or any other form of reprisal,” Finland’s ambassador Kirsti Kauppi said, reading out the statement to the Geneva forum.
Most of the signatory countries are European, joined by Australia, Canada and New Zealand. No countries from the African or Middle East region backed the statement.
Under former president Donald Trump the US quit the UN Human Rights Council, complaining that it was biased against Israel. One of Biden’s earliest actions was to rejoin the body as an observer nation.