Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Friday condemning the “unfair” and non-binding resolution issued by the European Parliament, recommending the suspension of military aid to Egypt.
The House of Representatives also issued a statement in response to the resolution, rejecting the linking of Italian PhD student Guilio Regeni’s death to the status of human rights in Egypt.
On Thursday, the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution agreeing on the severe deterioration of human rights in Egypt, following the abduction, torture and death of Regeni on 3 February, and recommending the suspension of military aid to Egypt.
The foreign ministry statement declared that the European Parliament’s decision was “unfair” and based on “unproven accusations and baseless media reports”.
“Involving the case of Regeni in a decision related to the human rights’ situation in Egypt is blatantly ignoring the ongoing investigations done by the Egyptian authorities in accordance with the Italian authorities,” the statement read.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abou Zaid added that it is shameful for a prestigious legislative institution like the European Parliament to issue decisions based upon unconfirmed media reports.
In defence of the Egyptian authorities, Abou Zaid said that there were some accusations claiming enforced disappearance cases are widespread in Egypt. However, it was proven that most of the reported cases were documented and the defendants are imprisoned based on real charges and according to court verdicts, he noted.
Abou Zaid concluded by saying that respecting human rights is an obligation guaranteed clearly by the Egyptian constitution, noting the Egyptian government completely abides by it.
Moreover, the Egyptian parliament issued a statement supporting and affirming the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement.
The statement expressed the Egyptian parliament’s severe reservations over the resolution, claiming it is based on “groundless accusations”.
“Respecting other countries sovereignty and not intervening in their ‘internal affairs’ is a principle acknowledged in Egypt and the EU,” the statement read.
Regarding Regeni’s death, the statement stressed that all decisions should be taken based on true and documented information, pointing out that everyone should wait on the final results of the investigations before issuing any conclusions.
“The parliament fully respects human rights and emphasised the protection of these rights through its legislative and regulatory roles,” the statement read, denying the politicisation of any human rights cases in Egypt and any double-standards in dealing with them.
The statement concluded by affirming respect for the judicial authority in Egypt and its independence, as it is the main guarantor of the rights of the citizens.
Conversely, in a statement to the privately-owned Al-Youm Al-Sabaa, former Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa said the European Parliament resolution should be taken seriously, and should not be neglected simply because it is not non-binding.
Furthermore, Dalia Moussa, a researcher on workers’ rights at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), told Daily News Egypt that this resolution would have an effect on Egypt if we “were living in a state that respects human rights and international decisions”.
Moussa added that the Interior Ministry is acting “savagely” against Egyptian citizens, as they abduct, torture, randomly arrest and forcibly disappear citizens on a wide scale.
“The 10 members who voted against the decision in the EU’s parliament are all [from] extreme right-wing parties. These are the kinds of parties and governments that back up Egypt,” Moussa said.
“Our parliament is useless, its members cannot even resolve one problem,” she continued, adding that the parliament refused to form a committee to monitor corruption.
Moussa concluded by saying she believed the resolution could act as a deterrent against violations in Egypt.
The non-binding resolution was passed in the European Parliament on Thursday, with a majority of 588 members voting in favour of passing the resolution, while 10 members voted against it, and 59 refrained from voting.