Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said yesterday that the international body is “concerned” with the situation of human rights in Egypt.
In his daily press briefing, Dujarric said: “We’re very concerned about these reports of arrests and treatment of these human rights defenders [in Egypt], including the three members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.”
He said that Guterres had always said “there should be no prisoners of conscience in the twenty‑first century. No one should be arrested for having a political opinion.”
“People should not be arrested or detained for expressing themselves and for their political views,” he added in a message directed at Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
He stressed that the UN is “very concerned” about the mass arrests campaign of human rights defenders in Egypt, which was carried out over the past two weeks.
“We’re very concerned about the reports of their treatment,” said.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry has rejected accusations that citizens are detained for their views and their defence of human rights. Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported the ministry’s spokesman Ahmad Hafez claiming those held in Egyptian prisoners are there due to their membership of “terror groups” and “spreading false news”.
According to rights groups there are some 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt, including secular activists, journalists, lawyers, academics and Islamists arrested in an ongoing, sweeping crackdown on dissent under autocratic Al-Sisi.