ECFA’s Statement in Response to the Letter dated on 23 March 2016 Addressed to President Obama by the American Working Group on Egypt
The Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs ECFA is deeply concerned with the American working group’s letter on Egypt to the President of the United States, calling for the U.S. government to halt assistance to Egypt asa retaliation to unfounded human rights violations.
It is a fact that sovereign nations have the full right to regulate the foreign political activities and foreign funding of those activities within their borders. The false allegations and misinformation presented in the said letter only serve to hurt the strategic U.S-Egyptian relationship at a critical time while the cooperation between the two countries is crucial, in order to face the tremendous challenges threatening the entire Middle East and North African region, including Egypt’s search for a comprehensive peace in the region and confronting all forms of terrorism which is a serious violation of all human rights, especially the right to life.
Egypt has undergone deep fundamental transformations during the last five years towards building a more open and democratic society, based on the respect for the rule of law. In the new democratic Egypt, no one is above the law,no one is exempted from judicial investigations in case it is required in conformity with the applicable law. President El-Sisi has reiterated numerous times that he will not allow the executive branch to interfere in the judicial proceedings and emphasized the importance of respecting the decisions of the judiciary.
Thus, a fair judicial process shall be the only way to determine the faith of individuals and organizations referred to in the “Working Group on Egypt” letter. Egyptians will not allow any country,including the United States,or a group of individualsto pressure Egypt’s judiciary to terminate or reshape the outcomes of ongoing investigations. As the oldest civilization in the world, with thousands of years of rich history and culture, Egypt is confident that its people will develop a vibrant and flourishing democratic society. Many positive steps have already been taken, such as adopting the most progressive constitution in the Middle East, which enshrines the protection and promotion of human rights, freedom of association, and the role of civil society organizations.
Today, Egyptians have also elected their president and representatives in the newly elected parliamentfreely and fairly. The political democratic trajectory of Egypt, in the context of the ongoing regional upheaval, must be praised and supported in order to advance a more stable regional order.
As for civil society organizations in Egypt, there are more than 47 thousands, the greatest majority of which abide by the Egyptian applicable laws. A small minority of them fails to inform the competent Egyptian authorities either with the foreign funding it receives or the domestic social activities it finances or plans to do so.
Against this background, it is a legitimate issue to enquire about who mandated the “Working Group on Egypt” to examine the human rights situation in Egypt? By the same token, is this to be considered as a precedent that invites the civil society organizations in other countries, including the Egyptian civil society, to interfere in the domestic affairs of the United States including questioning its judicial system, together with the examination of the human rights situation in America, taking into consideration the US regular records presented to the United Nations Council on Human Rights in Geneva?
In the light of the above, the “Working Group on Egypt” should immediately discontinue all of its covert and overt efforts of interference in the Egyptian judicial system, as it seeks to serve a set of narrow self-centered interests and extra-national objectives.The “Working Group on Egypt” should therefore refrain from spreading the ongoing false allegations and information about Egypt and stop undermining the strategic bilateral Egypt-U.S relations.