Thank you to those who have contacted me about the arrests of human rights activists in Egypt.
I was deeply concerned by the recent arrests of human rights campaigners, including those from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). Their arbitrary detention represents an attack on Egyptian civil society and is particularly troubling given the apparent connection to a meeting on 3 November with European ambassadors. It is entirely unacceptable for campaigners to face such intimidation and mistreatment for engaging in dialogue with diplomats.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary publicly raised these cases on 23 November, urging the Egyptian authorities to immediately release Mohamed Basheer, Karim Ennarah, Gasser Abdel Razek and all those being detained without just cause.
As you may be aware, Mohamed Basheer, Karim Ennarah, Gasser Abdel-Razek were released from detention on 4 December.
While their release is to be welcomed, I believe their detention in the first place marks a disturbing escalation in the Egyptian Government’s crackdown on the work of NGOs campaigning for human rights in that country. The Egyptian people have the right to exercise freedom of expression and assembly, and deserve a government which respects and upholds those rights.
I believe human rights should be at the heart of UK foreign policy and so I hope the UK Government will continue to raise these issues directly with Egyptian counterparts. Ministers should also work with diplomatic partners to pressure the Egyptian Government to change course and end the repression of civil society that we have seen taking place there.