REP LIEU, SEN PADILLA AND NINE MEMBERS URGE BIDEN ADMIN TO ADDRESS EGYPTIAN HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD

September 9, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Lieu led a letter with Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) and nine Members of Congress urging the Biden-Harris Administration to use the full range of tools at their disposal to put meaningful pressure on Egyptian President Abdelfattah al-Sisi over his government's atrocious human rights record. In the letter, the legislators highlighted the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt and expressed particular concern about the ongoing crackdown against independent journalists and media. In addition to Rep Lieu and Sen. Padilla, Reps. Susan Wild (D-PA), Colin Allred (D-TX), Karen Bass (D-CA), Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (D-VA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Jim Costa (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX) signed the letter.

In the letter, the legislators write:

Dear Secretary Blinken:

Thank you for your service. We are writing to express our deep concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt, which has been extensively documented by the State Department, the United Nations, and numerous human rights organizations. We are particularly alarmed by the ongoing crackdown against independent journalists and media. Hundreds of websites remain blocked and at least 28 journalists remain behind bars for simply doing their work. They are in custody alongside thousands of political prisoners, human rights defenders, academics and critics of the regime, many detained for years without trial solely on the basis of secret police investigations or convicted in unfair trials, including over social media posts about human rights. While in detention, they are subjected to inhumane conditions and torture, denied regular access to their families and adequate medical care, leading to the death of some prisoners in custody. 

Human rights abuses have become the norm in Egypt since President Abdulfattah al-Sisi seized power in 2013. We understand the United States has a strategic partnership with Egypt on many issues. However, we believe it is possible to maintain these interests while also using our leverage to uphold our most cherished values. This could begin with more frequent statements from senior U.S. officials about the gravity of the human rights situation in Egypt.

President Biden pledged during his campaign last year to give “no more blank checks” to President Sisi. More broadly, he pledged to bring values back to U.S. foreign policy. Egypt is among the most important places to put this pledge into practice. We request that the State Department and the Administration use the full range of tools at your disposal to put meaningful pressure on President Sisi and his regime. We look forward to working with you on finding ways to do just that.

Sincerely,

Ted W. Lieu