Washington, DC — On Thursday, March 19th, a group of multiple organizations gathered for a mission: to share the truth and plight of Egyptians with American lawmakers. Representatives from eight organizations were present: Human Rights Watch, Egyptian Americans for Democracy Worldwide, Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights, Code Pink, Be Magazine, and Egyptian American Relations (CEAR).
The group met with different senators’ offices throughout the day, starting first with Senator John McCain. They also met with several others, including Senator Christopher Coons, Senator Ron Johnson and Senator James E. Risch.
During the meetings, the group stressed the reality of Egypt’s ongoing human rights violations. Over and over again, the fact that Egypt was not headed on a path towards democracy was hammered in, and representatives explained how establishing a stronger relationship with Sisi was not good for America, or for the region. Representatives also tackled the subject of ISIS, and how it was stronger than ever, operating within Sinai in Egypt. They spoke about how they were afraid of going to Egypt, for fear of arrest and indefinite detainment, and talked about how they wanted the protection of the American government – especially since Egypt was getting the second-highest amount of aid from the US, following Israel.
The group also discussed the issue of increased sexual harassment in prisons, as well as the instances of people being shot by police with arrest warrants, who take the wife and children instead. Throughout the conversations, the group stressed that it was not wise for the United States to establish a relationship with a country that went after its own people. Each office was left with a Human Rights Watch report on Rab’aa and a promise to follow up.