Egypt’s al-Sisi in Paris amid human rights deterioration

Rights groups have alerted French President Emmanuel Macron over hosting Egyptian President Fattah al-Sisi who has rolled back human rights in the North African country since he seized power in 2013.

President al-Sisi is paying as of this Tuesday (October 24) a two-day visit to France, with discussions to touch on bilateral cooperation, including arms deals between the two countries.

Right groups including Amnesty International and Human Right Watch Monday urged President Emmanuel Macron to raise the human rights situation in Egypt that has worsened under the former army general.

Hundreds of rights activists have been locked or have gone missing since 2013. Some activists have been arrested on fabricated charges. Authorities have also closed down organizations on grounds that they receive foreign funds to destabilize the country.

“The dire situation of human rights in Egypt can’t be swept under the carpet any longer, despite French interests,” said Benedicte Jeannerod, the Director of Human Rights Watch in France.

“The crackdown that is ongoing in Egypt right now would not have been possible if the international community wasn’t willing to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in Egypt,” Hussein Bayoum, an Egyptian campaigner with Amnesty International said.

France and Egypt have upgraded their cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

In this vein, France sealed an over $6 billion military contract with Egypt for the sale of military equipment including 24 Rafale fighter jets, two helicopter carriers, rockets and small firearms and ammunition.

President Macron’s office last week indicated that the French leader will address the human rights issue at talks with the Egyptian President.

Al-Sisi is on a good course to be reelected in 2018 in a country where critics face heavy crackdown.

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