Human Rights Watch ( HRW ) has urged French President Emmanuel Macron to end “the scandalous policy of France’s tolerance of the repressive government” of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who Monday arrives on an official visit to Paris.
“France should make sure that the human rights situation is a priority of its relations with Egypt,” HRW said in a statement accusing Paris, which has excellent trade and security relations with Cairo, of ” Ignore “Mr Sissi’s record of human rights.
President Macron will meet his Egyptian counterpart for the first time on Tuesday at the Elysee, and the presidency assured that the human rights situation will be addressed.
During his three-day visit, Sissi will also meet with entrepreneurs and ministers, including Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who led major arms sales with Cairo when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs. Defense under the former President François Hollande.
“These interviews should be an opportunity to reassess the economic, security and military support of France to the Egyptian government, conditioning it to tangible improvements in the human rights situation,” said HRW .
Since 2015, Egypt has signed arms contracts with France for more than 6 billion euros, including 24 Rafale fighter jets, a frigate, two Mistral helicopter carriers and missiles.
“Under the presidency of al-Sisi, the Egyptian government is showing complete disregard for the country’s constitution and international law.
Al-Sissi presided over the worst human rights crisis in Egypt for decades, “citing mass arrests,” systematic “use of torture, repression of NGOs , homosexuals …
Paris must end this “era of leniency”, insists HRW . “To claim that the issue of human rights is mentioned in the discussions while persisting in not acting would be like putting under the rug the claims and suffering of the Egyptians,” said the director of the organization for France, Bénédicte Jeannerod.