COP27: Human Rights Watch accuses Egypt of hindering work of environmental defenders

The country is betting on the reception of the next UN global climate conference in November to reposition itself at the center of the regional diplomatic scene.

Le Monde

A few weeks before the UN World Climate World Conference (COP27) in Egypt, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization accuses Cairo of “obstacles” at work for the defense groups ‘Egyptian environment. “The Egyptian government arbitrarily imposes obstacles in terms of financing, research and registration, which have weakened local environmental groups, forcing certain activists to go into exile and others to deviate from important work,” alerted Richard Pearhouse, environmental director of the human rights NGO.

“These restrictions violate the freedoms of meeting and association and threaten the ability of Egypt to respect its commitments in terms of environment and climate action while it will welcome COP27 in November,” said the ‘NGO in its press release published Monday September 12. If Cairo stands as a champion of the fight for the climate and presents itself as the voice of Africa by calling on the developed countries to respect their financial commitments to help the continent to adapt to climate change, for a Anonymous environmentalists cited by HRW, “it is because it is in the interest of Egypt, especially in terms of funding”.

“opaque” activities

The NGO warns against “a safety device that will probably focus more than ever on environmental civil society in Egypt”. The Egyptian authorities have continued to muzzle any form of opposition, independent press or online militancy since the coming to power of President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, in 2013. The activists cited by HRW in its press release also denounce The “opaque of the Egyptian army” activities, citing the impact of “quarries and cement factories”, as well as that of national infrastructure projects, like the new capital that comes out of sands 50 km from Cairo.

The NGO calls “States participating in COP27 to work with the Egyptian authorities to ensure the participation of the various components of civil society during the climate conference”. Regularly pinned about its human rights balance sheet, the country – which has more than 60,000 opinion detainees, according to NGOs – particularly on the reception of this summit to reposition themselves at the center of the regional diplomatic scene.

If many foreign capitals have congratulated Egypt for having obtained to welcome COP27 to Charm El-Cheikh, on the Red Sea, the NGOs denounce this choice. They see it as “a reward for the repressive system” by Mr. Sissi and an additional international legitimacy for a state stuck in the political and economic slump due to expensive megaprojets, while a third of the population lives below the poverty line, According to the World Bank.

/Media reports.