CAIRO: The Foreign Ministry condemned a European Parliament decision slamming Egypt’s human rights record, saying such “approach that does not serve the support of the bilateral relations between Egypt and the European Union.”
The EU issued Thursday a decision calling Egypt to release all “political detainees” including detained Muslim Brotherhood members, AFP reported. The decision expressed concern over a “crackdown” on the freedom of expression.
The decision called also for “putting an end to all violent activities against the opposition politicians, demonstrators, journalists, bloggers, students, women right activists, civil community representatives and minorities,” as it was quoted by AFP. The decision called for a release of 167 detained lawmakers who were elected in 2011.
Since a protest law entered into force in October 2013, it has been illegal to protest in Egypt without securing permission from security forces. A number of activists have been arrested under its umbrella, including those who have demonstrated against the law itself.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty stated that the EU remarks include “misunderstanding and wrong claims that lack the reality of Egyptian status quo.”
Abdel Atty added the remarks reflect that there is unilateral approach that does not serve the support of the bilateral relations between Egypt and the European Union, continuing that “the decision violates the simplest democratic principles of the separation of authorities in tackling the matters in subjective way.
The decision slams the situation of the LGBT community in Egypt; 26 men were arrested in Egypt on Dec. 17 over charges debauchery, however, they were acquitted Monday. Earlier this year, another eight men were sentenced to three years in prison with hard labor for appearing in a video allegedly celebrating a gay marriage on a boat on the Nile in September.
There is no a specific law in the Egyptian penal code criminalizing homosexuality; those found of engaging in homosexual relationship, however, are often charged with “debauchery.”
“The Foreign Ministry was also surprised by the contents of the decision which alleged that human trafficking phenomenon Sinai, despite the fact that North Sinai, which is considered a security zone, has witnessed wide operations of the army and police to fight terrorist organizations and criminals there, “ the statement read.
The statement added that the Egyptian government called the European Parliament members to be accurate in getting authentic information.
Regarding the elections in Egypt, the European Parliament decision said the most recent elections which President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi won “did not meet international standards.” The Parliament said that “hence, it is not appropriate to send a mission of monitors.”
Meanwhile, the European Union said Thursday it will not send Egypt a full mission to monitor the parliamentary elections that was scheduled to be held in March.
“I have decided not to send a fully fledged observation mission this time but instead deploy a smaller expert mission,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told EU lawmakers in the French city of Strasbourg, as it was reported by Europe Online Magazine.
An EU monitoring mission to the presidential elections, which had been invited by the Egyptian government last May, was kicked out of a news conference by the head of the National Council for Women Mervat Tallawy, after she accused their report of “interfering in internal affairs.”
In September 2014, the EU Ambassadors to Egypt being summoned Tuesday by the Foreign Ministry over comments made by Italian United Nations Human Rights Council Representative Maurizio Enrico Serra on what he called the “deteriorating” human rights situation in Egypt.
“The rights situation in Egypt is marked by indiscriminate detentions and disproportionate sentencing – including the death penalty (referring to the death penalties against the Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters) ,” said Serra during the 27th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council Tuesday. Such remarks were also slammed by the Egyptian government.