HRW slams choice of Egypt to host COP27 summit

HRW slams choice of Egypt to host COP27 summit
The human rights organisation said Egypt, which had an "appalling record on human rights abuses", was a bad choice as host for next year's global climate summit
2 min read
15 November, 2021
The rights group noted that Egypt's restrictive assembly laws would prevent grassroots protests [Getty]

Human Rights Watch criticised Monday the choice of Egypt as host for the next climate summit, warning the government would use it to "whitewash its appalling record of human rights abuses".

"Egypt is a glaringly poor choice to host COP27 and rewards the repressive rule of President (Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi despite his government's appalling abuses," said Joe Stork, the rights group's deputy Middle East director, in a statement.

"Countries participating in the COP27 should press Egypt to release the thousands of people jailed solely for exercising their right to free speech and peaceful assembly."

Egypt, the most populous Arab country, was officially selected last week to host the next climate summit slated for late 2022.

Nearly 200 nations on Saturday signed a global deal in Glasgow to try to halt runaway global warming after two weeks of painful negotiations, but fell short of what scientists say is needed to contain dangerous rises.

The rights group noted that Egypt's restrictive assembly laws and the choice of hosting the summit at the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh would prevent grassroots protests - a visible feature at previous conferences.

New York-based HRW highlighted the case of detained environmental activist Ahmed Amasha, jailed since July 2020, as an example of Sisi's continued targeting of civil society.

Since Sisi became president in 2014 following a military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi the year before, the former army general has overseen a sweeping crackdown on dissent with estimates of about 60,000 political prisoners jailed.

The rights watchdog called on the international community to "take specific steps to protect freedom of speech and assembly in advance of next year's climate change conference".

Egypt did not sign two of the early landmark deals of the COP26 meeting, one on ending deforestation by 2030 and another on reducing methane emissions by 30 percent.