Biden Administration Again Fails to Press for Human Rights in Egypt
WASHINGTON, DC — In a decision similar to one made last year, the Biden administration will give Egypt in the coming year most of the $300 million in military aid that Congress made contingent on human rights improvements in that country.
“The Biden administration’s decision to release more military aid to Egypt is another wasted opportunity to encourage human rights reform in the Middle East,” said Brian Dooley, Senior Advisor at Human Rights First. “It’s hard to see what improvements are being rewarded here. There has been a revolving door of political prisoners, with some human rights activists freed and others newly charged. Sadly, the decision to give Egypt this aid reflects the record of an administration that uses the rhetoric of human rights while supporting allied authoritarian dictators with weapons.”
This $300 million in military aid is in addition to $1 billion that is not conditioned. While the administration has reportedly certified that Egypt is “making clear and consistent progress in releasing political prisoners and providing detainees with due process of law,” senior members of Congress have relayed their concerns “about the ongoing, pervasive and systemic violations of human rights in Egypt.” Human Rights First shares those concerns.
Human Rights First has worked with local Human Rights Defenders in Egypt for decades and produced research detailing human rights abuses by the current Egyptian government. Last year we released a report detailing how torture across Egypt’s prison system is fueling recruitment for ISIS.
“If the White House won’t take the action needed to push Egypt to reform, Congress should,” said Dooley. “The next appropriations bill should remove the possibility of a waiver for the human rights conditions on this military aid. Congress should insist that the administration explain to them and the families of political prisoners what ‘consistent progress’ they are seeing.”