Egypt Denies Human Rights Watch Report
02/01/2019 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Egypt’s Public Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement on January 31st denying the content of a Human Rights Watch 2019 World Report. This report criticizes Egypt’s use of security forces as a tool of repression to violate a number of human rights. Egypt’s responding statement alleged that Human Rights Watch was publishing false information.
In 2017, Egypt banned several websites which monitor the state of human rights in-country. Nevertheless, Egypt presses the narrative that freedom of expression and belief exists in country. This was most recently asserted during a high-profile visit with French President Macron, who heavily criticized Egyptian President Sisi’s human rights record.
During the visit, President Macron attended St. Mark’s Cathedral, which was targeted by a suicide bomb in 2016, killing 29 Christians. President Sisi has used attacks against Christians to justify increasing reliance on security forces and restricting civil liberties.
The relationship between Egypt’s security forces and Christians is mixed. Security forces are present in front of nearly every church. Sometimes, they will prevent attacks from happening. For example, their activity saved Father Seifin Church in Nasr City from a significant terrorist attack. More often, however, churches are attacked by mobs of Islamic extremists. In these cases, security forces often step back and do not interfere.
Due to the tightening restrictions on the freedom of expression and other civil liberties, Egypt’s Christians must use great caution when addressing the challenges posed by security forces.
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