9 April 2014
Human Rights Watch urges US to delay military assistance to Egypt
Human Rights Watch released a letter that was sent to the US Secretary of State John Kerry on 31 March. The letter urged the United States to not resume military aid to Egypt unless the military-backed government ceases the alleged human rights abuses and ensures that violators are held accountable.
The US halted aid to Egypt in October 2013, after the Egyptian authorities’ violent repression of the protests, following the removal from office of Egypt’s first freely elected President, Mohamed Morsi. At a congressional hearing in March, Kerry indicated that he would decide on restarting assistance to Egypt in the coming days. Under the Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus Appropriation Bill, it must be certified that Egypt is ‘taking steps to support a democratic transition … and for the development of … basic freedoms including civil society and the media’ before the US can resume assistance.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Egyptian government is doing the opposite. Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, stated that ‘the question is no longer whether Egypt is on the road to democratic transition, but how much of its brute repression the US will paper over.’