In October 2021, President Sisi suspended the state of emergency that was imposed in 2017. While spending lavishly on megaprojects and weapons, Egypt under Sisi has also borrowed extensively at home and abroad. In July 2021, President Sisi approved amendments to some provisions of Law No. Inmates are subject to physical abuse, overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and denial of medical care. Police brutality and impunity for abuses by security forces were catalysts for the 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak, but no reforms have since been enacted and security forces continue to wield illegitimate force with impunity. According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, in the first two months of 2021 alone, seven prisoners were executed by Egyptian authorities, 67 new defendants were sentenced to death, and 48 new defendants received provisional death penalty sentences. In practice, women face extensive discrimination in employment, among other disadvantages.

In October, President Sisi suspended the state of emergency that was imposed in 2017. Washington, DC 20036-2103. Other segments of the population that are subject to various forms of harassment and discrimination include Coptic Christians and other religious minorities, people of color from southern Egypt, migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa, people with disabilities, and LGBT+ people. Progovernment media figures and state officials regularly call for national unity and suggest that only enemies of the state would criticize authorities.

Moreover, authorities block news websites and target independent journalists, limiting citizens access to credible information. Future loans should be conditioned on reforms that roll back military privileges in the economy to allow private companies the competitive conditions needed to grow and generate employment for the ever-expanding labor force. Do individuals enjoy personal social freedoms, including choice of marriage partner and size of family, protection from domestic violence, and control over appearance? Global freedom statuses are calculated on a weighted scale. In the economy, Sisi has expanded the militarys involvement significantly through carefully targeted changes in laws and proceduresas if it were not already enough that military companies benefit from conscript labor, tax-free status, and free access to vast tracts of government land. Women held 27.7 percent of seats in the House of Representatives as of mid-2021, in large part due to legal gender quotas. All rights reserved. Not really. However, the effectiveness of such laws is hindered by societal resistance, poor enforcement, abuses by the police themselves, and lack of adequate protection for witnesses, all of which deter victims from contacting authorities. The amendments allow the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to permanently control the appointment of the defense minister, who is also the commander in chief. These severe violations of due process rights and legal standards has normalized the use of the Egyptian justice system for political purposes. The Battle Over Family Law in Egypt Shows Only the Personal Can Be Political, And Then Only So Far, Cutting Aid Wont Pull Tunisia Away From Authoritarianism, Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center, Testimony: U.S. House Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism. By using this website, you agree to our cookie policy. The amendments enable authorities to further target opposition supporters working in the civil service. Although the constitution limits military trials of civilians, a 2014 presidential decree placed all public and vital facilities under military jurisdiction, resulting in the referral of thousands of civilian defendants to military courts. Two-thirds of Senate members are elected (half through closed party lists and half through individual seats) and one-third are appointed by the president. In June 2021, the president approved amendments to the penal code tightening punishments for journalists who cover criminal trial sessions without prior approval. Opportunities for private businesses are limited. Political parties are legally allowed to form and operate, but in practice there are no political parties that offer meaningful opposition to the incumbent leadership. The Egyptian people are facing intense challenges due to rapid population growth, deep and increasing poverty, widespread youth unemployment, a looming Nile water shortage, and threats to food security due to climate change. In June 2021, an emergency court in Egypt sentenced researcher and graduate student Ahmed Samir Santawy to four years in prison for publishing false news. Thousands of other opposition figures remain in prison, where they live in unsanitary conditions. Women and children, migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and Syrian refugees are vulnerable to forced labor and sex trafficking in Egypt. Independent reporting is suppressed through restrictive laws and intimidation, while foreign journalists face obstruction by the state.

cleopatra berenice iv artifacts berenike egypt ptolemy palace xii kleopatra Two laws ratified in 2018 pose additional threats to press freedom. The Sisi administration has provided very little transparency regarding government spending and operations and denies civil society groups and independent journalists opportunities to comment on or influence state policies. The state controls education and curriculums in public schools and to a lesser degree in some of the countrys private institutions. Faculty members and departments have some autonomy in shaping specific courses, though many scholars self-censor to avoid any punitive measures. The Egyptian media sector is dominated by progovernment outlets; most critical or opposition-oriented outlets were shut down in the wake of the 2013 coup. In August 2021, a video released by the spokesperson of the Egyptian armed forces praising the success of military operations in North Sinai and the killing of 89 militants, appeared to show the killing of two unarmed people who clearly posed no threat to the security forces present. Is there freedom for trade unions and similar professional or labor organizations? Voting in 2018 was marred by low turnout, the use of state resources and media to support Sisis candidacy, voter intimidation, and vote buying. Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslim men, for example, and the Coptic Church rarely permits divorce. Societal biases also discourage womens ownership of land. The suspension should end the use of emergency courts, which do not satisfy the minimum standards of fair trials. Egypt also received Apache attack helicopters and other advanced weaponry from the United States during the same period. Leaders in Congress should urge administration officials to support such conditions as well as firm. Thousands of protesters have been arrested since 2013 (when these strict laws were introduced), and some jailed protesters have received death sentences. Authorities had held both activists in prison since 2019. In November 2021, President Sisi approved legal amendments that gave the Egyptian military the authority to secure vital facilities (including gas stations, gas lines, oil fields, railways, road networks, bridges, and other public facilities and properties). Women are at a legal disadvantage in property and inheritance matters, typically receiving half the inheritance due to a man. israeli defense force relations race Authorities routinely punish individuals for offenses that stemmed directly from their circumstances as trafficking victims. The military is notoriously opaque with its budget and its extensive business interests. In October 2020, President Sisi appointed 100 mostly proregime members to the Senate. The governments cash transfer programsimplemented after many years of urging by the IMF, World Bank, and donors including the United Statesreach no more than 10 percent of the population. It lacks credibility, transparency, and impartiality and is not allowed to monitor the economic activities of the military. For years, Egyptian security forces have carried out extrajudicial executions, claiming that the victims had been killed in shootouts. Civil liberties, including press freedom and freedom of assembly, are tightly restricted. While Article 15 of the constitution provides for the right to organize peaceful strikes, they are not tolerated in practice, and the law on protests prohibits gatherings that impede labor and production. Property rights in Sinai and other border areas are affected by the activities of security forces. In November 2021, Ahmed Abdo Maher, a lawyer and Islamic thinker, was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of defaming Islam and stirring up sectarian strife.. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who first took power in a 2013 coup while serving as Egypts defense minister and armed forces commander, has been elected only through unfair, noncompetitive contests. Though President Sisi has approved laws tightening punishments on female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual harassment, women generally struggle to see their interests represented in politics. The board of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) consists of senior judges drawn from some of Egypts highest courts, who serve six-year terms.

He was convicted of spreading false news and undermining state security. In addition, a growing list of rights activists, journalists, political party members, bloggers, and academics have been subjected to arbitrary bans on international travel in recent years. Prison conditions are very poor, and prisons were grossly unequipped during the COVID-19 pandemic to treat the illness or prevent its spread. Individuals seeking to change their place of employment or education can encounter bureaucratic barriers and scrutiny from security officials. Are individuals free to express their personal views on political or other sensitive topics without fear of surveillance or retribution? Do the freely elected head of government and national legislative representatives determine the policies of the government?

Since 2013, Egyptian authorities have increasingly used months- or even years-long pretrial detentions as retribution for opposition members, journalists, and activists. There are two steps that I recommend the United States take in this regard: Thank you for your attention and I will be pleased to answer any questions. Domestic violence, sexual harassment, and female genital mutilation (FGM) are still among the most acute problems in Egyptian society, though in April 2021, the government toughened penalties for FGM. According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, in the first two months of 2021 alone, seven prisoners were executed by Egyptian authorities, 67 new defendants were sentenced to death, and 48 new defendants received provisional death penalty sentences. The 2019 constitutional amendments further consolidated Sisis authority and increased the militarys already considerable independence from civilian oversight and its constitutional role in civilian governance. Many doctors were arrested for publicly criticizing the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and coronavirus tests. Egyptian authorities had held both activists in prison since 2019. From the IMF alone, Egypt has borrowed $20 billion since 2016, all of which will need to be repaid in tranches beginning in 2021. Are individuals free to practice and express their religious faith or nonbelief in public and private? Authorities failed to protect striking workers in July and August 2021, allowing the large manufacturing company LORD International to unfairly dismiss and punish workers on strike. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who first took power in a 2013 coup, has governed Egypt in an increasingly authoritarian manner. In recent years, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have faced mass closures as well as harassment in the form of office raids, arrests of members, lengthy legal cases, and restrictions on travel. The constitution guarantees freedom of movement, but internal travel and access are restricted tightly in North Sinai and to a lesser extent in other governorates along Egypts borders. It is a matter of time before there will be a large one.

The 2018 Anti-Cyber and Information Technology Crimes Law allows authorities to block any website considered to be a threat to national security, a broad stipulation that is vulnerable to abuse. Since then, authorities have systematically persecuted its members. However, the Interior Ministry can legally ban, postpone, or relocate protests with a courts approval. Religious minorities and atheists have faced persecution and violence, with Copts in particular suffering numerous cases of forced displacement, physical assaults, bomb and arson attacks, and blocking of church construction in recent years. While some Islamist parties still operate in a precarious legal position, the Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed in 2013 as a terrorist organization, and its political party was banned. Military conscripts are exploited as cheap labor to work on military- or state-affiliated development projects. Spousal rape is not a crime.

The president has the right to appoint 28 additional members to the House. Charges brought in military courts are often vague or fabricated, defendants are denied due process, and basic evidentiary standards are routinely disregarded. In 2021, authorities arrested and imprisoned activists and dissidents on spurious charges, including undermining state security. Washington, DC 20036. Punishments for violations of the law are severe. Though the constitution stipulates equality for women, their court testimony is not equal to that of men in cases involving personal status matters and they are disproportionately marginalized. The government imposes strict requirements for academics to obtain approval from security officials for travel abroad, and many have been subject to prosecution by emergency courts. While Egyptians sank into ever-greater poverty over the past five years, Sisi has poured resources into vanity megaprojects such as building a new administrative capital in the desert 30 miles east of Cairo at an estimated cost of $58 billion. Check your email for details on your request. The upper house, the Senate, consists of 300 seats and has no significant legislative competencies. These indicators will have worsened due to the pandemic-induced economic recession, which has hit the tourism sector, as well as natural gas prices particularly hard. A number of detained government critics and opposition figures have been prosecuted in the emergency courts created when President Sisi declared a state of emergency in 2017, which remained in effect until October 2021.

Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice, and is the system free of undue obstacles to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings? In December, an emergency court sentenced activists and human rights defenders Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mohamed al-Baqer to five and four years in prison, respectively, after being convicted of spreading false news and undermining state security. Foreign researchers or activists have been expelled or denied entry to the country. Join the Freedom House monthly newsletter, 1850 M St. NW Floor 11 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. These acquisitions seem to be more about building the prestige and patronage networks of the Egyptian military as well as diversifying Sisis international alliances than about responding to actual threats. Congress should continue to authorize funds bolstering human development through higher education. The city is being built by a military company with significant Chinese investment. Since 2013, university students have been arrested, faced disciplinary sanctions such as expulsion, military trials, and extrajudicial killings for their political activism. A restrictive 2019 law constrains the activities of NGOs deemed to threaten national security, public morals, and public order and imposes onerous reporting requirements and intrusive monitoring systems. Sinai residents are subject to curfews, checkpoints, and other obstacles to travel. While same-sex sexual conduct is not explicitly banned, people suspected of such activity can be charged with prostitution or debauchery. The police have carried out dozens of such arrests in recent years. Michele Dunne is a nonresident scholar in Carnegies Middle East Program, where her research focuses on political and economic change in Arab countries, particularly Egypt, as well as U.S. policy in the Middle East. In December 2020 and February 2021, the authorities arrested Safwan Thabet, the founder and majority shareholder of Egypts largest dairy products and juice producer Juhayna, and his 40-year-old son, Seif; detained them in inhumane conditions; and charged them with funding terrorism after they refused to release control of Juhaynas assets. Do various segments of the population (including ethnic, racial, religious, gender, LGBT+, and other relevant groups) have full political rights and electoral opportunities? The chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court is chosen by the president from among its most senior members. Is there a realistic opportunity for the opposition to increase its support or gain power through elections? See all data, scores & information on this country or territory. Websites of independent news and information entities are regularly blocked. As of spring 2019, the Egyptian general in charge of the project said that some $9 billion had already been spent on the citys infrastructure. Do laws, policies, and practices guarantee equal treatment of various segments of the population? Independents and small parties took the remaining seats in the Senate and House. However, the decision does not preclude hearing cases that were already referred to those courts, nor does it invalidate repressive legislation that was integrated into criminal law. Unauthorized gatherings of 10 or more people can be subject to forced dispersal. Gulf donors who poured billions into Sisis coffers after the coup are less willing or able to do so now as they face their own financial troubles, and so Egypt is almost certain to go back to the IMF for more funding next year to meet its endless need for external financing. Congress should reduce Foreign Military Financing significantly from the current level of $1.3 billion and instead support civilian needs, for example, aiding a critical revolution in water usage and agriculture. Afghanistan Human Rights Coordination Mechanism, Emergency Assistance and Thematic Programs. Conflict continues between security forces and adherents of the Islamic State (IS) militant group based in the North Sinai region. The combination of a rapidly growing, youthful Egyptian population whose needs are constantly frustrated with a small military elite that enriches itself while treating civilian concerns with contempt is combustible. A recent law mandating the appointment of a military advisor to each provincial governor enshrined in law what had already been happening in practice; a military officer with veto power is placed alongside high-ranking civilian officials such as ministers and governors. Parties formed based on religion are forbidden. In December 2021, an emergency court in Cairo sentenced activist and blogger Mohamed Ibrahim, also known as Mohamed Oxygen, to four years in prison. Regime-allied outlets that dominate the media sector spread misinformation about the illness. Vaguely worded 2019 constitutional amendments further strengthened the legal underpinnings of the militarys political influence, calling on it to protect the constitution and democracy for the sake of citizens rights that are not respected by Egyptian authorities. Sisi has also expended much over the last five years building Egypts arsenal. Egyptians desperately need a revolution in water use and agriculture, as well as a comprehensive program to curb population growth, to avoid food insecurity and other disasters in the coming years. In 2018 the government statistical agency admitted that 32.5 percent of Egyptians were living on less than $1.50 per person per day, 5 percent more of the population compared to 2015. Do individuals enjoy equality of opportunity and freedom from economic exploitation? Thank you Chairman Deutch and Ranking Member Wilson for the honor of testifying before the Subcommittee. Antiterrorism laws provide a vague definition of terrorism and grant law enforcement personnel sweeping powers and immunity in enforcement. The changes allow the president to appoint the heads of judicial bodies and authorities, choosing from among several candidates nominated by their governing councils. The Anti-Cyber and Information Technology Crimes Law requires telecommunications companies to store users data for 180 days, further enabling widespread government surveillance. Security agencies use surveillance equipment and techniques to monitor social media platforms and mobile phone applications. It is not the responsibility of the United States to solve the problems of the people of Egypt, but at the same time it is neither appropriate nor desirable for Congress or any administration to give unqualified support to a military government that is failing to address Egyptian critical needs while oppressing them harshly. Is there academic freedom, and is the educational system free from extensive political indoctrination? Elections still take place, but opposition candidates are excluded, processes and results are opaque, and few voters trouble to show up except for those desperate for a handout of food. You are leaving the website for the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy and entering a website for another of Carnegie's global centers. Only approximately three percent of its land is arable, and that is now being diminished by the effects of climate change including higher temperatures, more frequent droughts, and soil salinity from the rising Mediterranean Sea. Political dissidents abroad are targeted by espionage operations, and their families in Egypt have increasingly faced persecution by state authorities. Because of this government crackdown on assembly rights, protests are extremely rare. The House of Representatives consists of 568 members, half elected through closed party lists and half through individual seats. Once-proud civilian institutions such as the judiciary, legislature, central auditing authority, and diplomatic corps have been stripped of independence. Informal reconciliation sessions following instances of sectarian conflict have denied Copts justice for acts of violence against them. University professors can be dismissed for on-campus political activity, and several prominent academics are in prison for expressing political views. Activists, parties, and political movements that criticize the regime face arrests, harsh prison terms, death sentences, extrajudicial violence, and other forms of pressure. In recent years, authorities have targeted content creators on social media platforms, most notably TikTok, for various spurious charges. Coptic Christians form a substantial minority, and there are smaller numbers of Shiite Muslims, non-Coptic Christian denominations, and other groups.