Human Rights First Condemns Continued U.S. Military Aid to Abusive Egyptian Government

WASHINGTON – Human Rights First condemned the Biden administration’s decision to provide Egypt a larger share of the annual military assistance that Congress had conditioned on human rights gains than in any of the administration’s previous years, despite Egypt’s persistently appalling record.

“The human rights defenders who are living through Egypt’s human rights crisis know that President Sisi hasn’t changed his ways, and they have told us that the Biden administration’s consistent shows of political and military support for their brutal government are not just disappointing but dangerous,” said Brian Dooley, senior advisor to Human Rights First. “The United States could do less harm and more good by spending this money on nearly any other purpose.”

Earlier this week, it was reported that the State Department would withhold $85 million in Fiscal Year 2022 foreign military financing to Egypt because it could not certify that Egyptian authorities had made progress in releasing political prisoners. It will provide the remaining $235 million of conditioned funds for a total of $1.215 billion for the fiscal year. Both figures are higher than in any prior year of this administration.

“Congress is absolutely right to link U.S. security assistance to the human rights record of the recipients, but its approach on Egypt is not working,” said Adam Keith, director of accountability for Human Rights First. “Three years into the Biden administration, the loose, limited conditions Congress set for this money have not spurred accountability nor other genuine behavior changes by the abusive Egyptian government. Congress must tighten these restrictions to make Egypt take U.S. concerns about human rights seriously.”

Earlier this year, on the tenth anniversary of the massacre of protesters in Cairo by Egyptian security forces, Human Rights First issued a report on the critical perspectives of Egyptian human rights defenders on U.S. policy toward Egypt. No one has been held accountable for that massacre.

Human Rights First also featured a case study on Egypt in its November 2022 report on the omission of many U.S. security partners from the Global Magnitsky sanctions program.


Published on September 14, 2023


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