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Egypt: Civil society organizations urge European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to discuss abuses and crackdown on human rights defenders during country visit

'Egypt: Joint Letter to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development', 15 April 2021

26 civil society organisations urge you to convey to the Egyptian authorities that the country’s worsening rule of law and human rights abuses represent non-compliance with the political aspects of the EBRD’s mandate and constitute a major problem for the Bank that should be addressed urgently and seriously... Thousands of political activists, human rights defenders, academics, gay and trans people and LGBT activists, journalists and bloggers have been arrested and kept in lengthy detention without trial. There is no space in the country to make any criticism without the risk of being labelled as “terrorist” and prosecuted as such. Egypt has witnessed a drastic rise in the most serious human rights violations, including a sharp increase in the number of death sentences and executions... The Egyptian authorities and intelligence agencies have taken near-complete control—except for a couple of small online news outlets—of the media field inside the country, allowing them to ensure there is no critical reporting on the Egyptian authorities’ own version of the “more for more, less for less principle”. It consists of more reprisals toward independent civil society actors, democratic activists and human rights defenders, as well as more closing of civic space and the public sphere, and less online and offline freedom of speech and of the press... During the pandemic, dozens of health workers, human rights defenders and media workers were arrested or intimidated for speaking up about the COVID-19 situation and the State response...