'No light at end of tunnel' for Egypt: Human Rights Watch

Ahram Online , Thursday 29 Jan 2015

The New York-based group released Thursday its world report, reviewing human rights in more than 90 countries, including Egypt

Sarah Leah Whitson
Middle East director at HRW Sarah Leah Whitson (Photo: Reuters)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says rights conditions in Egypt are "in sharp decline," adding "there’s no light at the end of the tunnel."

In its world report on 90 countries released Thursday, the New York-based rights group said the rise of Islamic extremists after the Arab Spring uprisings have prompted many governments to view human rights as a “luxury for less trying periods.”

“Egypt is at a post-revolution nadir, and right now there’s no light at the end of the tunnel,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “The situation for thousands of Egyptians is getting worse by the day.”

The 656-page world report suggests that violating rights can spark or aggravate serious security challenges.

Recapping rights conditions in Egypt, HRW said a state of impunity over security forces killings has prevailed, with more than 41,000 people jailed, nearly two thirds of which are supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

The group also referred to mass trials "marred by due process violations," where 220 defendants were sentenced to death and 495 to life in prison in two cases in the southern city of Minya. Another 7,389 people arrested after the violence that followed Morsi's ouster remained in pretrial detention a year later.

A contentious protest law has also contributed in jailing thousands, including prominent activists and human rights defenders.

NGOs, meanwhile, are forced to act under a restrictive 2002 law.

Egyptian authorities have dismissed earlier HRW reports as biased and stopped the group's executive director from entering the country in August 2014 ahead of the release of a report on the forced dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins that killed hundreds.

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