Middle East

Let’s Get Everyone on Board for COP27 Climate Summit in Egypt!

Authorities in Egypt must ensure civil society can safely and fully participate in the COP27 UN climate change conference taking place there next month, a group of UN independent human rights experts said on Friday, expressing alarm over restrictions ahead of the summit.

This new wave of reprisals follows years of persistent crackdowns on civil society and human rights defenders, using security as a pretext to undermine their legitimate right to participate in public affairs, they said in a statement.

Egypt is hosting COP27, which will be held in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh from 6 to 18 November.

‘Climate of fear’

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“Arrests and detention, NGO asset freezes and dissolutions and travel restrictions against human rights defenders have created a climate of fear for Egyptian civil society organisations to engage visibly at the COP27,” the experts said.

Egyptian NGOs have previously suffered harassment, intimidation and reprisals for cooperating with the UN, they added.

The five experts who issued the statement are all Special Rapporteurs, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

They said the main concerns of civil society activists were lack of information and transparent accreditation criteria for Egyptian NGOs, a coordinated increase in hotel room rates, undue restrictions to freedom of peaceful assembly outside the conference venue, and unjustified delays in the provision of visas to those travelling from abroad.

A crucial role

They underscored the essential role civil society plays in advancing climate action and urged Egypt to ensure safe and meaningful participation at the conference, including for independent groups.

“Instead of further limiting their rights, civil society actors and human rights defenders, including those working on climate rights, must be given an opportunity to raise awareness about their views and protection needs,” the experts said.

“We strongly believe that COP27, organised by the United Nations, should uphold the public’s right to participate in the conduct of public affairs, as recognised by Egypt.”

The experts have also backed calls by civil society for the UN climate body that oversees the conference, UNFCCC, to develop human rights criteria that countries hosting future COPs must commit to meeting as part of the host agreement.

About UN Rapporteurs

The statement was issued by Ian Fry, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change; Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

They are among the independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to monitor and report on specific country situations or thematic issues.

Special Rapporteurs are independent of any government or organization, work on a voluntary basis, and serve in their individual capacity.

They are not UN staff and are not paid for their work. 

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13 Comments

  1. Will the Egyptian authorities openly address the concerns raised by the UN experts regarding the participation of civil society in the COP27 summit?

    1. Yes, it is crucial that the Egyptian authorities address the concerns raised by the UN experts to ensure a safe and inclusive participation of civil society in the upcoming COP27 summit. Transparency and respect for human rights are essential to fostering a conducive environment for meaningful engagement and dialogue.

  2. Will there be any specific measures implemented to ensure the safety and full participation of civil society in the COP27 conference in Egypt?

    1. Yes, the authorities in Egypt should take concrete actions to guarantee the safety and unrestricted engagement of civil society members during the COP27 conference. It is crucial for fostering an inclusive and productive dialogue on climate change.

  3. “As a climate activist, I strongly believe that it is crucial for all voices to be heard at the COP27 Climate Summit in Egypt. Restrictions on civil society participation only hinder progress towards addressing the global climate crisis. Authorities must ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all attendees to actively engage in discussions and actions towards a sustainable future.”

  4. Arrests and detentions, NGO asset freezes, and dissolutions, as well as travel restrictions against human rights defenders, have created a climate of fear for Egyptian civil society organizations to engage visibly at the COP27. Egyptian NGOs have previously suffered harassment, intimidation, and reprisals for cooperating with the UN. It’s crucial for authorities in Egypt to ensure that civil society can safely and fully participate in the upcoming climate summit. This new wave of reprisals follows years of persistent crackdowns on civil society and human rights defenders, using security as a pretext to undermine their legitimate right to participate in public affairs.

  5. As an advocate for human rights, I strongly believe that it is crucial for Egyptian authorities to guarantee the full participation of civil society in the upcoming COP27 climate summit. These restrictions on NGO activities create a climate of fear, hindering the essential work of organizations in addressing climate change effectively.

  6. “Arrests and detention, NGO asset freezes and dissolutions and travel restrictions against human rights defenders have created a climate of fear for Egyptian civil society organisations to engage visibly at the COP27,” the experts said.

  7. “Arrests and detention, NGO asset freezes and dissolutions and travel restrictions against human rights defenders have created a climate of fear for Egyptian civil society organizations to engage visibly at the COP27,” the experts said.

  8. “Egyptian civil society must be granted the freedom to participate fully in the upcoming COP27 conference. The current restrictions on human rights defenders only perpetuate a climate of fear, hindering meaningful engagement.”

  9. “Arrests and detention, NGO asset freezes and dissolutions and travel restrictions against human rights defenders have created a climate of fear for Egyptian civil society organisations to engage visibly at the COP27,” the experts said.

  10. “Arrests and detention, NGO asset freezes and dissolutions and travel restrictions against human rights defenders have created a climate of fear for Egyptian civil society organisations to engage visibly at the COP27,” the experts said.

  11. “Arrests and detention, NGO asset freezes and dissolutions and travel restrictions against human rights defenders have created a climate of fear for Egyptian civil society organisations to engage visibly at the COP27,” the experts said.

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