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Procedure : 2019/2880(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0143/2019

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 24/10/2019 - 3.2
CRE 24/10/2019 - 3.2

Votes :

PV 24/10/2019 - 8.2

Texts adopted :


PDF 175kWORD 51k


<TitreSuite>with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>

<Titre>on Egypt</Titre>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Kati Piri, Maria Arena</Depute>

<Commission>{S&D}on behalf of the S&D Group</Commission>


See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0138/2019
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.


European Parliament resolution on Egypt


The European Parliament,

  having regard to its previous resolutions on Egypt, in particular those of 17 July 2014 on the freedom of expression and assembly in Egypt, of 15 January 2015 on the situation in Egypt, of 8 February 2015 on executions in Egypt, of 10 March 2016 on the case of Giulio Regeni, and of of 13 December 2018 on the situation of human rights defenders;


  having regard to the European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2017 on arms export: implementation of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP;


  having regard to the EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Egypt of August 2013 and February 2014;


  having regard to the EU-Egypt Association Agreement of 2001, which entered into force in 2004, strengthened by the Action Plan of 2007; having regard also to the EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities 2017-2020, adopted on 25 July 2017, to the joint statement issued following the 2017 EU-Egypt Association Council, and to the joint statement on the 6th meeting of the EU-Egypt Subcommittee on Political Matters, Human Rights & Democracy in June 2019;


  having regard to Articles 2, 3(5), 21, 24, 29 and 31 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 10 and 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which commit the EU and its Member States, in their relations with the wider world, to upholding and promoting universal human rights and the protection of individuals, and adopting restrictive measures in case of grave human rights breaches;


  having regard to the Egypt country report of the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2018, adopted by the Council of the European Union on 13 May 2019;


  having regard to the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Egypt of 2014,


  having regard to the Constitution of Egypt;


  having regard to the statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on the protests in Egypt of 27 September 2019;


  having regard to the African Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance, which prohibit military trials of civilians under all circumstances;


  having regard to the new EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights, which aims to place the protection and surveillance of human rights at the heart of all EU policies;


  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, on Torture, on Freedom of Expression and on Human Rights Defenders;


  having regard to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1985, the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, and the Arab Charter on Human Rights of 2004, which have been ratified by Egypt;


  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Egypt is a party;


  having regard to the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) of 2015;


  having regard to the UN Security Council’s resolution 2473 (2019) adopted in June 2019 renewing measures designed to implement the arms embargo against Libya;


  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948;


  having regard to Rules 144 of its Rules of Procedure.



  1. Whereas arbitrary detentions have increased in Egypt in response to anti-government demonstrations which began on 20 September 2019 protesting austerity measures, endemic government corruption, and systematic repression and demanding the resignation of Egyptian president Abdelfattah Al-Sisi, and overof 4000 persons have been arbitrarily detained in Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta, Mahalla and Suez and cities across the country since the start of the demonstrations, including several human rights defenders under grave charges including “joining an illegal organisation”;


  1. whereas this is part of a larger crackdown on civil society and fundamental democratic rights in Egypt, notably on freedoms of expression both online and offline, of association and assembly, political pluralism, the right to participation in public affairs and the rule of law; whereas 2019 has seen a closure of the political sphere to peaceful democratic opposition parties, and the repression of attempts to prepare for electoral participation through arbitrary detention of dozens of citizens in the “Hope Case”, including human rights defenders Zyed el-Eleimy, Hossam Moanis and Tamy Shaath;


  1. whereas human rights lawyers, journalists, activists and members of the opposition have been jailed under grave charges including terrorism-related ones, “joining an illegal organisation, “demonstration without a permit,” and “spreading false news”; whereas peaceful dissenters, pro-democracy activists and human rights defenders are put at risk as they are labelled as terrorists; whereas these arrest are solely motivated by their peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights;


  1. whereas enforced disappearances of human rights defenders are becoming a systematic practice of the Egyptian authorities, before most re-appear in the hands of the State Prosecution, such as Alaa Abdel-Fattah, Asmaa Daabes, Esraa Abdel Fattah, Eman Al-Helw, Mohamed Ibrahim, Abdelrahman Tarek, Ezzat Ghoneim, Haytham Mohamadeen, and Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy; whereas some have still not re-appeared including Ibrahim Ezz El-Din;


  1. whereas pre-trial preventive detention and precautionary measures are being used punitively in order to prevent human rights defenders and their lawyers such as Mahienour El-Masry, Mohamed El-Baqer, Esraa Abdel Fattah, Mohamed Ramadan from carrying out their legitimate human rights work in Egypt; and whereas probation measure are excessively used to punish those who have served their prison terms as in the case of photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (Shawkan);


  1. whereas there are serious reports of systematic use of torture and ill-treatment, as well as deprivation of food, medicine, and medical care, including urgently needed cancer treatment and psychiatric medications while the detainees are in custody; whereas many detainees are denied family and lawyer visits;


  1.  whereas no serious investigations have been launched into the many recent torture reports and allegations, including against recently arrested human rights defenders, and due process for victims of torture is still absent, even in cases which led to death such as the murder of EU citizen and trade union researcher Giulio Regeni;


  1. whereas international organisations have documented the blocking of news media websites including BBC and Al-Horra TV, and the blocking or restriction of access to online messaging applications, in particular during the last weeks; whereas respect for civil liberties, including the freedom of expression and media freedom, is an essential part of the foundations of a democratic society, and journalists should be free to exercise their profession without fear of prosecution or imprisonment;


  1. whereas Egypt’s 2019 NGO Law threatens to restrict civil society significantly; whereas the law cancels jail sanctions and does away with the security-heavy agency previously designated to approve and monitor foreign funding, and  furthers problematic restrictions on the right to freedom of association by conceiving of a narrow role for civil society, relegating it to the field of development, thereby significantly constraining the activities of both domestic and foreign NGOs, particularly under the pretence of national security and empowering authorities with expansive monitoring authority and broad discretion to regulate and dissolve NGOs; whereas regardless of the law, in practice, independent civil society organisations are being marginalised and threatened;


  1. whereas grave violations of the right to life continue in Egypt, notably through the judiciary, which has issued and implemented an unprecedentedly high number of death sentences against many individuals—even sentencing children—including  following military and mass trials that lacked the minimum guarantees for fair trials; whereas criminal and military courts have issued over 3,000 death sentences since 2014 and 50 persons are at imminent risk of execution;


  1. whereas there has been an ongoing state of emergency in Egypt, in place since April 2017 and extended for three months from 25 July 2019 onwards; whereas according to state media the state of emergency was introduced to help tackle the ‘dangers and funding of terrorism’; whereas the President and those acting on his behalf are granted the power to refer civilians to State Security Emergency Courts for the duration of the three-month period; whereas the legal process implemented by these Courts violates detainees’ right to a fair trial, right to liberty and other rights beyond the power of derogation accorded to them under the State of Emergency;


  1. whereas Egypt’s UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process ending in November 2019 brings a unique opportunity for the international community to scrutinize Egypt’s human rights record and put forward recommendations for improvement; whereas full, free and genuine participation by Egypt’s independent rights NGOs and defenders based in-country must be essential to this process; whereas its legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness would otherwise be seriously undermined;


  1. whereas many human rights activists are subject to repressive measures, some in reprisal for participating in Egypt’s 2014 UPR; whereas 10 human rights defenders and 7 NGOs named in case 173/2011 (the “Foreign Funding Case”) have suffered asphyxiating asset freezes; whereas travel bans remain imposed on at least 31 defenders and staff of independent Egyptian rights NGOs under case 173; though 43 staff of foreign civil society organisations convicted in 2013 in the same case, have been acquitted in 2018; 


  1. whereas the 2017-2020 EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities adopted in July 2017 are guided by a shared commitment to the universal values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and constitute a renewed framework for political engagement and enhanced cooperation, including on security, judicial reform and counter-terrorism, on a basis of due respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; whereas European efforts to engage Egypt to address the severest aspects of human rights violations have not yielded perceptible results;


  1. Whereas the EU FAC conclusions of 21 August 2013 stated that, "Member States also agreed to suspend export licenses to Egypt of any equipment which might be used for internal repression and to reassess export licenses of equipment covered by Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and review their security assistance with Egypt"; whereas companies based in several EU Member States have continued to export, or even increased their export of, arms, surveillance technology and other security equipment to Egypt facilitating hacking and malware as well as other forms of attacks on human rights defenders and civil society activists both physically and online; whereas this activity has led to the repression of freedom of expression online;


  1. whereas the Foreign Affairs Council has to date failed to issue an implementing act following the decision and the persistent non-compliance of EU Member States with these commitments;


  1. Whereas Egypt is a supporter of Libyan eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, whose Libya National Army (LNA) has conducted in April 2019 a military operation in order to take Tripoli from forces allied with the UN-backed and internationally recognized government (GNA).




  1. Strongly condemns the new crackdown and the continuous restrictions on fundamental democratic rights, notably freedom of expression both online and offline, association and assembly, political pluralism and the rule of law in Egypt; condemns the excessive use of violence against protesters and reminds Egypt that any response by the security forces should be in line with international norms and standards regarding the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as well as fair trial and calls on the Egyptian authorities to release all those detained for peacefully exercising their right to protest;
  2. Strongly condemns the enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention of human rights defenders in Egypt, and is dismayed at the credible reports of instances of torture on Esraa Abdel Fattah; Calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders detained or sentenced merely for carrying out their legitimate and peaceful human rights work, including Eman Al-Helw, Mohamed Ibrahim, Mohamed Ramadan, Abdelrahman Tarek, Ezzat Ghoneim, Haytham Mohamadeen, Alaa Abdelfattah, Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, Mahienour El-Masry, Mohamed El-Baqer, Esraa Abdel Fattah and to immediately ascertain the whereabouts of Ibrahim Ezz El-Din; further call for the release of human rights defenders, academics and other pre-trial detention within the “Hope” case after they attempted to exercise rights to freedom of expression or to participation in public affairs including Zyad el-Elaimy, Hassan Barbary, Ramy Shaath- as well as the members of Bread and Freedom Party, El Dostour party and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party recently detained without credible grounds for criminal charges;


  1. Regrets the lack of credible investigation of and accountability for the kidnapping, torture and murder in 2016 of Giulio Regeni, an Italian researcher; deplores  the persistent refusal by the Egyptian authorities to provide to the Italian authorities all the documents and information necessary to enable a swift, transparent and impartial investigation into the murder of Mr Regeni in accordance with Egypt’s international obligations; calls on the Egyptian authorities to extradite to the Italian judicial authorities the five suspects in the case of the murder of Giulio Regeni as demanded by the public persecutor office of Rome;


  1. Emphasises that the treatment of all detainees, including human rights defenders, while in detention, must adhere to the conditions set out in the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment adopted by means of UN General Assembly Resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;


  1. Calls for an end to all acts of violence, incitement, hate speech, harassment, intimidation, enforced disappearances and censorship directed at human rights defenders, lawyers, protesters, journalists, bloggers, trade unionists, students, women’s rights activists, LGBTI people, civil society organisations, political opponents and religious, ethnic and political minorities, by state authorities, security forces and services and any other groups in Egypt; calls an independent and transparent investigation into all human rights violations and for those responsible to be held to account;


  1. Urges the Egyptian authorities to cease the shutdown of more than 513 websites, including those of local and international news organizations and human rights organizations;


  1. Expresses grave concern at the reprisals against persons who cooperate or seek to cooperate with international rights organizations or United Nations human rights bodies; calls on the Egyptian authorities to close case 173/2011 (Foreign Funding Case) and lift all travel bans imposed on at least 31 human rights defenders and staff of rights NGOs affected by the case, as well as all other arbitrarily-imposed travel bans, and allow Egyptian rights defenders based inside Egypt to travel to participate in person in Egypt’s Universal Periodic Review on 13 November 2019 before the UNHRC;


  1. Calls on the authorities to repeal Article 50 of the counterterrorism law, which is the legal basis for the establishment of special terrorism circuits in the criminal court system, as well as Law 136 of 2014 on the protection of public facilities, which allows for the military trial of civilians for a vast range of offences; stresses the need to refer all civilian cases still pending before these tribunals to the competent civil court, and retry any civilians convicted by military courts in the competent civil court;


  1. Urges the Egyptian authorities to enact an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the use of the death penalty in Egypt; calls on President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi to use his legal powers under Article 470 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to commute death sentences; reiterates its call on Egypt to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aimed at the abolition of the death penalty;


  1. Calls on the VP/HR and the Members States to respond in a unified and resolute manner to the current crackdown and human rights violations in Egypt; reminds the VP/HR and the Member States of their obligation to  use all means of influence at their disposal to pressure Egypt to improve its human rights situation, stop imminent executions, call for the prompt release of those arbitrarily deprived of liberty and encourage the Egyptian authorities to respect their commitments to international norms and laws;


  1. Strongly urges the Egyptian authorities to respect the commitments made in the context of the 2017-2020 EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities and emphasises the need for their full and proper implementation; in view of the negotiation of the new partnership priorities, calls on the EU to establish clear benchmarks making further cooperation with Egypt conditional on its progress in the reform of its democratic institutions, the rule of law and human rights, and to mainstream human rights concerns in all talks with the Egyptian authorities; reiterates that human rights should not be undermined by migration management or counter-terrorism actions;  


  1. Calls on the HR/VP and Member States to use all tools at their disposal, including bilateral and multilateral tools, trade negotiations, the European Neighbourhood Policy, aid and, where necessary, targeted restrictive measures, to halt the country’s crackdown and secure concrete progress in Egypt’s human rights record;


  1. Reiterates its calls on the EU Member States to follow up on their 23 August 2013 conclusions announcing the suspension of export licences for any equipment which might be used for internal repression in line with Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and the persistent non-compliance of EU Member States with these commitments and to halt exports of arms, surveillance technology and other security equipment to Egypt that can facilitate attacks on human rights defenders and civil society activists, including on social media, as well as any other kind of internal repression;  calls on the EU to implement in full its export controls vis-à-vis Egypt with regard to goods that could be used for repression, torture or capital punishment; 


  1. Calls on the Egyptian authorities to stop any interference in the Libyan crisis that could lead to further escalation, including the spread of militancy, a revival of migrant flows to Europe, and regional instability; to respect the UN Security Council’s resolution 2473 (2019) on arm embargo to Libya and to support the efforts made Special Representative of the United Nations for Libya, Ghassan Salamé;
  2. Instructs its president to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the VP/HR of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, and to the Egyptian government and parliament.





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