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Egypt Human Rights Caucus Co-Chairs’ Statement On U.N. COP27 Climate Change Conference

Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), co-Chairs of Congress’ Egypt Human Rights Caucus, issued the following statement today:

“We are deeply committed to the fight against climate change, and believe international cooperation is central to that effort, but Egypt was the wrong choice for COP27. Its government jails environmental and political activists and treats NGOs as a threat. We encourage President Biden and Special Envoy Kerry to use this opportunity to raise the issue of human rights and the imprisonment of environmental, political, and other activists directly with President Sisi.

“Even though Egypt is likely to be one of the countries most affected by climate change, President Sisi has chosen to persecute instead of partner with the activists working to solve Egypt’s climate and social challenges. Environmental activist Ahmed Abdelsattar Amasha and writer Alaa Abd el-Fattah, currently on a full hunger strike and at imminent risk of death, are languishing in Egyptian jails. The U.S. must use its voice at COP27 to ensure that they, and others like them, are released without delay.

“Egypt suffers from water scarcity, rising sea levels, air pollution, and record high temperatures. Corrupt military-owned companies are linked to the overuse of the Nile River and to destructive mining practices, accelerating Egypt’s environmental degradation. A better use of the $1.3 billion the U.S. government gives Egypt to purchase weapons that Egypt has never used to promote regional security would be to fund Egypt’s civil society, sustainability programs, and clean energy initiatives.

"Activists and civil society have played a very important role in seeking action to address the climate crisis in the United States and other countries. We urge President Biden to use this opportunity at COP27 to push President Sisi to release activists and to stop suppressing Egypt’s civil society. Instead of treating activists as the enemy, limiting their funding, and throwing them in jail, President Sisi should see them as an asset and work with them to solve Egypt’s climate challenges.”