Egyptian president says ‘Western’ human rights don’t apply to his country

Activists say the government should stop making excuses for 'disturbing' civil liberties crackdown

President Sisi's latest comments have angered civil rights charities
President Sisi's latest comments have angered civil rights charities

Human rights and freedoms in Egypt should not be viewed from a “Western perspective”, the country’s president has said in what campaigners have described as "deeply troubling" remarks.

Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi told a US delegation that “differences in domestic and regional conditions” in the north African nation made it difficult to apply the same rules regarding civil liberties.

Britain and France have recently criticised Egypt’s government for alleged human rights abuses and attacking the freedom of the press.

According to local media reports, President Sisi was keen to stress that Egypt was committed to “upholding the values of democracy” while in conversation with Michael McCaul, chairman of the US House Committee on Homeland Security.

The meeting involved talks on approaches to volatile nations in the Middle East before the discussion turned to the pressing issue of civil rights, according to Sisi’s spokesman.

Meanwhile, McCaul expressed his belief in the importance of America’s “strategic relationship” with Egypt and the future stability of the troubled nation.

Protests flared up yesterday in the capital Cairo

Nicholas Piachaud, an Egypt specialist at Amnesty International, told The Independent: “President Sisi’s reported remarks are deeply troubling, and he should stop making excuses for the authorities’ disturbing human rights crackdown.

“There’s nothing remotely ‘Western’ about basic human rights like the right not to suffer torture or to be able to speak freely without fear of arrest and imprisonment.

“The very real security threats facing Egypt shouldn’t become an excuse for the crushing of rights and freedoms in the country.”

President Sisi's remarks are deeply troubling, and he should stop making excuses

&#13; <p>Nicholas Piachaud, Amnesty International</p>&#13;

Last week, 237 human rights protesters were arrested during a peaceful demonstration against the el-Sisi regime in Cairo.

Officers also detained two journalists, Mahmoud al-Sakka and Amr Badr, who work for the opposition website Bawabet Yanayer, for “spreading false news and endangering national security.”

The controversial arrests sparked further uprisings, during which Cairo police cordoned off the headquarters of the journalist’s union in the city centre.

In their annual report published in April, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said human rights in Egypt had “deteriorated” in 2015 with more cases of torture, police brutality and forced disappearance.

The report continued: “Restrictions on civil society further limited the ability of NGOs to register, work and obtain funding, and a number of prominent human rights defenders were banned from travelling. Restrictions on freedom of expression also increased.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in