Human Rights Watch calls on US not to give Sisi a green light for constitutional amendments

File HRW

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Human Rights Watch called on the US Congress not to give Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a “green light” for constitutional amendments that “give the army arbitrary powers and sanctify tyranny.”

The New York-based organization said in a statement that Sisi’s visit to the White House on Tuesday “comes at a time when his government is stifling the opposition ahead of a referendum on constitutional amendments that would institutionalize repression.”

Egyptian parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Al announced that the deputies would end the discussion of the proposed constitutional amendments and vote for their final approval in mid-April. The HEC will then set a date for a popular referendum. The referendum is expected to be held before the end of this month.

“US President Donald Trump has repeatedly avoided addressing human rights problems in Egypt,” he said. “Instead, he praised Sisi for doing a great job in counterterrorism.”

“Rather than allowing Sisi to return from Washington without any condemnation of his policies, members of Congress should make it clear that continued repression and attacks in Egypt will face serious restrictions on military assistance and link them to substantial reforms and improvements in human rights.”

“The Cissy president is in Washington to get a green light for the proposed constitutional amendments that give the military arbitrary powers and sanctify tyranny,” said Michael Pige, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“Given President Trump’s silence on the abuses, Congress must address this initiative and condemn it,” he said.

The Sissi meeting with Trump VI will be between the heads of state. But it is the first visit of the Egyptian president to the White House since his re-election last year.

The constitutional amendments, which the Egyptian parliament is discussing, allow the president to remain in power until 2034. Under the current constitution, no president remains in power for more than two consecutive terms of four years.

According to Human Rights Watch, these amendments include “articles that undermine constitutionally the independence of the already weak judiciary and increase military control over the public and political spheres.”

Since the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi by the army in 2013, the Egyptian security services launched a crackdown on all the spectrums of the Islamic opposition, liberal and leftist.

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