UK designates Egypt a priority for intervention in human rights


The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office designated Egypt one of 30 priority countries for intervention in its 2015 human rights report.

The Human Rights Priority Countries is a new concept for the FCO, in which it focuses on 30 countries where it perceives the UK can make the most difference.


“Some of these are, in our analysis, countries in which the worst, or greatest number of, human rights violations take place,” the report explains. “Others are countries where we judge we have the potential to make a greater impact as a result of the strength of our bilateral relations and our ability to influence,” it added.

The FCO claims Egypt’s human rights record has deteriorated within the context of a significant terrorist threat, citing the growing number of activists and journalists in prison and prolonged pre-trial detentions, namely that of photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, who was arrested in August 2013.

The report also references reports of torture and forced disappearance, as well as a crackdown on civil society.

The FCO raised concerns “at senior levels” throughout 2015, according to the report, including with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi himself, as well as through public statements and the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

The FCO vowed to continue raising concerns, funding projects, and putting pressure on Egypt to implement the recommendations it accepted during its UPR, explaining that currently it funds a number of human rights and democracy building initiatives.

“Our focus will be on detentions of political activists, police abuses, and restrictions on civil society,” the report said, as, “improving the current trajectory is fundamental to Egypt’s long-term stability.”

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