Egyptian Rights Defenders Call for Changes to U.S. Policy on Egypt

NEW YORK –To acknowledge the 10th anniversary of the Egyptian government’s massacre of protesters in the Rabaa and Nahda neighborhoods of Cairo, Human Rights First today released a report in which Egyptian human rights defenders (HRDs) critique U.S. policy on human rights in Egypt.

“As they struggle to stay out of prison for their defense of human rights, Egyptian activists know that the United States is not keeping its promise to support human rights in Egypt,” said Brian Dooley, senior advisor at Human Rights First and author of the report. “The U.S government has a legacy of ignoring human rights in allied countries like Egypt, and contrary to campaign promises, the Biden administration has not meaningfully changed the U.S. approach of providing military and political support to President Sisi’s brutal and dictatorial regime.”

In the report – Since the Rabaa Massacre, A Decade of U.S. Failure on Egyptian Human Rights – one activist described the 2013 Rabaa massacre as “a turning point in Egypt’s human rights crises.”  Another said that no U.S. administration, including the Biden administration, has “in any way done enough to support human rights in Egypt since the Rabaa massacre.”

For several decades, Human Rights First has visited Egypt to document human rights abuses; it reported from Egypt during the Rabaa massacre in 2013. The organization has testified in the U.S. Congress on some of its findings and recommendations on how to support human rights in Egypt.

Drawing on the views of Egyptian HRDs, the report recommends that the Biden administration strictly condition security assistance to Egypt on human rights progress, sanction abusive Egyptian officials, pursue accountability for the Rabaa massacre, support HRDs who have been jailed, and activate the U.S. embassy in Cairo to advocate for human rights.


Published on August 11, 2023


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