The Egyptian government must respect peaceful free expression and human rights communities, the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights said on Twitter after a meeting with members of the Egyptian civil society.
During his visit to Egypt, Stavros Lambrinidis held several meetings, including an open discussion with 30 rights lawyers and advocates from 12 local and international NGOs.
They discussed whether the state respects human rights while “fighting terrorism” and its commitment to implementing the rights set out in the 2014 Constitution, according to a Monday statement from the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, which hosted the meeting. They also talked about whether security apparatuses are “fighting terrorism or fighting peaceful opposition”.
In the meeting, civil society members addressed the state of human rights in Egypt in general, with particular emphasis placed on “the bloody assaults on the right to protest and peaceful assembly, the security intervention in the course of justice and the attack on rights organisations and defenders of human rights.”
NGOs represented in the talks include the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network.
Ahead of speaking with the civil society members, Lambrinidis held talks with the lawyers of detained activists, such as bloggers Alaa Abdel Fattah and Ahmed Douma, 6 April founder Ahmed Maher, and 6 April member Mohamed Adel, a meeting which he requested. He discussed the state of prisoners, the “illegal circumstances of their trials” and the pressures lawyers face, including “repeated assaults by police officers and not being allowed access to their clients.”
Lambrindis discussed human rights with Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. They addressed the impact of violence and terrorism on the ongoing political process. The two also discussed relations between Egypt and the European Union, as well as ways to cooperate in the field of human rights, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Fahmy said the Egyptian government is intent on completing the roadmap.
Lambrindis also met with Mohamed Amin al-Mahdi, Minister of Transitional Justice and National Reconciliation.
Reconciliation requires respect for human rights, Lambrindis later posted to Twitter.
The special representative also met with the chairman and members of the fact-finding committee established by the presidency to investigate incidents of violence since 30 June.