President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s visit to the White House on April 9, 2019 comes at a time when his government has been stifling dissent before a planned constitutional referendum that will institutionalize repression, Human Rights Watch said today:
Instead of allowing al-Sisi to return from Washington without any condemnation of his policies, members of Congress should make clear that Egypt’s ongoing repression and abuse will be met with serious restrictions on military aid that are dependent on substantial reforms and human rights improvements.
“President al-Sisi is in Washington to obtain a green light for proposed constitutional amendments that grant the military highly abusive powers and further institutionalize authoritarianism,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East and Northern Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
The Project on Middle East Democracy and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a discussion of the ramifications of the amendments and al-Sisi’s visit for the future of Egypt, the U.S.-Egypt relationship, and for regional peace.
- Moataz El Fegiery is the general coordinator for the Egyptian Human Rights Forum.
- Mai El-Sadany is the legal and judicial director for the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.
- Michele Dunne [a National Endowment for Democracy board member] is the director and senior fellow of the Carnegie Middle East Program.
- Susan B. Glasser is a staff writer at the New Yorker.