All the President's MPs: The Egyptian Parliament’s Role in Burying Human Rights and Silencing Dissent
Jun 29, 2017 | 15:10 GMT
- Egypt’s current parliament was formed by the fall 2015 elections, which were held under conditions of intense repression and amidst reports of extensive interference by security agencies. It is dominated by supporters of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
- The parliament is more of a rubber stamp for the executive branch and more active in constraining citizens’ rights and freedoms than any Egyptian legislature in decades. Security agencies reportedly play an active role in influencing the parliament.
- MPs have passed numerous laws expanding executive powers and curtailing human rights, often in the name of “national security,” that are building the legal foundation of a new authoritarian system.
- The parliament’s leadership has silenced even mild government criticism and debate. Members have lashed out against the media, human rights organizations, and Western governments.
- Egypt desperately needs a credible venue for debating public policies to address serious economic, social, and security challenges facing the country and a mechanism to channel citizen demands to decision-makers. Without such mediating institutions, an eruption of citizen frustration and unrest becomes more likely.
- The U.S. and European governments must avoid providing assistance such as training, equipment, or study tours for this parliament. When Egyptian parliamentarians travel abroad, Western officials should raise the issue of the parliament’s shameful record and dangerous assault on human rights.