François Hollande in Egypt: Human Rights, Left Out of the Visit?

General News
President Francois Hollande visits Eygpt today as part of his Middle east Tour

Several officials warn the French head of state on the issue of human rights …

François Hollande continues his tour of the Middle East.  After a visit to Lebanon, the president arrived Sunday in Cairo, Egypt. The Head of State, accompanied by Minister of Culture Audrey Azoulay and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, will be hosted by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in the afternoon.

“We also hope that contracts can be signed”

In Lebanon , François Hollande focused on the crisis of Syrian refugees by promising military aid and 100 million euros to support the country. In Egypt, the presidential tour should focus more on economic partnership between the two countries. “We want to make this visit an asset to our business. We also hope that contracts can be signed, although nothing is sure yet, “says one diplomatic source.

Fifteen small and fifteen large companies are part of the French delegation.  The visit of the French head of state in Cairo will be an opportunity to “pursue bilateral agreements between the two countries” on all major regional issues: the Libyan crisis and the fight against terrorism (although Egypt not part of the international coalition against the Islamic State). The Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be at the heart of talks between the two presidents.

NGO’s denounce the “deafening silence” on human rights

During these two days, Francois Hollande will not escape the question of human rights. Its displacement has already drawn criticism from several NGOs, who denounced the “deafening silence” of Paris about human rights violations by the regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi. “It is expected that Hollande takes the floor on the situation of human rights when the country is experiencing an unprecedented suppression in its modern history,” says Nicolas Krameyer, head of Freedom program at Amnesty International. According to the NGO, the regime jailed 40,000 opponents since the overthrow of President Morsi and hundreds of people were sentenced to death “after unfair trials.”

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the League of Human Rights, and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) met on Tuesday, diplomatic adviser to the Elysee. “We asked that human rights are at the heart of discussions with President Al-Sissi. François Hollande can not look away from a nameless repression for economic reasons, “said Nicolas Krameyer.

The Eric Lang case mentioned?

The case of Eric Lang, a French teacher beaten to death in 2013 in a Cairo police station, was also discussed. NGOs have given voice to his mother, who doubt the official theory that he was killed by fellow prisoners. Nicole Prost accused the French Foreign Ministry for not having defended his son and dragging their feet to shed light on his death. “We do not know what French diplomacy did. She said it was closely monitoring the case but the contrast with the silent reaction of the Italian government, which recalled its ambassador following the death of the student Giulio Regeni  “said Nicolas Krameyer.

A French diplomatic source said that “the issue of human rights is of great concern” for Francois Hollande, who intends to carry on these subjects “messages” in a “discreet and efficient.”

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