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16 Egyptian rights groups urge UN human rights chief to intervene and halt abuse

In a letter sent to UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad, 16 human rights organisations say Egypt is committing rampant violations
File photo shows UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad(AFP)

Sixteen Egyptian human rights groups sent a letter on Wednesday to UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad that detailed recent concerns committed by the Egyptian government and provided recommendations for halting future abuses.

The letter highlights seven areas of concern: extrajudicial killing, imprisonment and torture, freedom of assembly, media crackdowns, social justice, women’s rights and religious freedom.

The letter also urged Ra’ad to pressure Egypt to“ enable civil society organisations” and have them “freely operate under a legislative framework that complies with international standards… without being subjected to retaliatory measures”.

In addition, the rights groups noted that the “War on Terror” was being used unjustly, and allowed for “increasingly violent and shocking human rights violations committed by the Egyptian authorities”.

The petition was sent a few hours before Ra’ad addressed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The signatories also asked Egypt to adhere to “constitutional provisions on public spending on education and health and not allow austerity policies to erode these commitments”.

Since Sisi seized power in July 2013, tens of thousands of people have been detained by security forces, as Egyptian authorities have implemented a far-reaching crackdown against all political opponents.

Hundreds of people have been sentenced to death in swift trials that have been condemned by human rights groups, and there have been numerous reports of torture being systematically used in Egyptian prisons.

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