Egypt’s Crackdown at COP27 on Dissent Amidst Climate Summit

Deepanwita Dey News 13 December 2023 2 Mins Read
Egypt's Crackdown at COP27 on Dissent Amidst Climate Summit

Egyptian human rights activist and software developer Alaa Abd el-Fattah, a key figure in the 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak, finds himself imprisoned once again. Unable to attend the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh. El-Fattah, who has faced multiple incarcerations over the past decade, is currently on a hunger strike, having refrained from water intake since Sunday (Source: Wired).

The Egyptian government, known for stringent restrictions on protests and dissent, has imposed prohibitive measures during the climate summit. In a country where speaking out can be perilous, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s administration is considered authoritarian by human rights groups, accused of widespread abuses including mass arrests, killings of protesters, and military trials against civilians.

El-Sisi assumed power in 2014 after a military coup overthrew the democratically elected Mohamed Morsi. While international climate gatherings have historically attracted activism and demonstrations, the Egyptian government has tightly controlled dissent during COP27.

Protesters face threats of fines and imprisonment, and stringent regulations mandate that demonstrations be climate-related, with prior registration required. Activists must adhere to a specific time frame from 10 to 5 and are confined to a designated area away from the conference.

Hussein Baoumi, a researcher for Amnesty International Egypt and Libya, warns of potential reprisals for protesters, highlighting the country’s history of mass surveillance leading to post-event arrests. Despite these challenges, attempts to raise human rights issues persist at the summit.

Hossam Bahgat, executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, has urged COP27 attendees to wear white on Thursday in solidarity with political prisoners in Egypt, advocating for their release. The social media campaign, marked by the hashtag #FreeThemAll, aims to draw attention to human rights concerns amid the tightly controlled climate summit environment.

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