Saturday, 30th September 2023

Egypt, the host of this year's upcoming U.N.-led climate conference, is rejecting reports by a rights group saying that authorities in the Middle East country are stifling environmental activism as part of a broader crackdown on dissent.

According to the report by Human Rights Watch, the Egyptian government's restrictions amount to a violation of basic human rights and throw into question its ability to meet basic climate commitments.

The report was based on interviews with more than a dozen academics, scientists, and activists. The global COP27 summit will take place in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in November. 

Egypt's foreign ministry said late Monday that the report was misleading and that its publishing was "counterproductive." 

The statement did not address allegations of intimidation and obstruction faced by environment workers and other activists. Rather, it responded to accounts that some local groups have faced difficulty in registering their non-governmental organizations due to strict laws on how NGOs should be established and registered.

Only groups registered with the government can apply for accreditation to participate in the COP27 summit.

Egypt's government has engaged in a widespread crackdown on dissent in recent years, detaining thousands, many without trial, according to rights groups. Under President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, authorities have also intimidated activists. New laws have practically barred many civil society organizations from operating.

"It is unfortunate to find such allegations and inaccuracies in the latest HRW report on the participation of environmental groups in COP27. The report is based on the testimonies of unknown sources, and unidentified groups claiming potential impediments to their participation in the conference," said Ahmed Abu Zeid, the ministry's spokesman.

-Africa News

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