Human rights activists accused Greenpeace of “greening” the Egyptian government’s image of Russia and dissuade other activists from forcibly raising the country’s appalling human rights record forthcoming of Cop27, the UN Climate Summit to be held in Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheikh next a week.
Criticism of in global preservation group comes as human rights activists warn that environmentalists should not downplay human rights concerns in Egypt record out of fear that it might limit them access to global summit or that it could divert attention from achieving climate goals. Proponents argue that meaningful action to combat climate change can only be achieved if scientists, activists and journalists can pressure governments to move away from fossil fuels.
government of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi, who took office in 2014 holds some 60,000 political prisoners and silences independent environmentalists and climate activists. US State Department lists ‘significant’ human rights issues in countries, including unlawful or arbitrary killings, extrajudicial executions by the government, enforced disappearances by state security forces, and torture and life-threatening conditions in Egyptian prisons.
Human rights defenders – some of who spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, in part because of concerns about them safety – they say that Greenpeace survived out for his unwillingness to criticize Sisi’s human rights violations government forthcoming of summit.
AT one case, activists with direct knowledge of case said demand call for release of all political prisoners proposed by Egyptian human rights activists in The Cop27 coalition was opposed by Greenpeace and Egyptian environmental groups. who we in in coalition.
Position of green groups, according to activists, required international groups for step into the fray and act as go-betweens. Ultimately a compromise language was agreed in which political prisoners were mentioned in text of the preamble before full list of climate related requirements. Greenpeace finally left coalition, as did some Egyptian groups, including at least one with the support of the Ministry of Egypt of environment.
“My concern is that if you normalize these ecological groups or international organizations in general, should it is allowed not to take a principled position, but to undermine the appeals for rights from local groups, for for the sake of of their accessor for for the sake of of own operations, I think this is a very dangerous precedent,” one the activist said.
Other with direct knowledge of the case stated that Egyptian environmental groups felt they had no choice but to withdraw from the Cop27 coalition due to fears that the regime would further restrict them work. One local Egyptian environmental activist said: “We all agree on the intersection of human rights and climate. justice as well as should fight the authoritarian regime together, not quarrel among themselves… safety are genuine.”
The controversy surrounding the Coalition is not the only controversy.
In July group of environmentalists and activists wrote an open letter expressing their concern over Egypt ability spend event successfully because of this is bad record on human rights, especially as thousands of prisoners of conscience remain a prisoner. Among the signatories were John Soven, former executive director of Greenpeace UK but Greenpeace UK declined to sign.
“It was Greenpeace against petition signing for release of Alaa Abd El-Fattah,” the person said, referring to the imprisoned British Egyptian blogger. who is one of The most famous activists of Egypt for his role in revolt in egypt in 2011, and spent most of of in last decade behind bars. He has also was on a hunger strike for about 200 days and recently told his family what he thinks he can die in prison.
Mike Townsley of Greenpeace International said: “We are very concerned about the plight of human rights in Egypt and believe you can’t have a climate justice without social justice”.
He added: “Our work in Egypt is coming with significant risk to safety of employees who will continue to work there long after Cop27 over. this is our duty not only consider them safely also to avoid increased risk faced thanks to the growing environmental movement in Egypt. Balancing safety of our employees and our partners with in need talk out not easy. Around world human rights and environmental advocates face growing threats. It’s critical to find ways to keep tackling rising high tide of oppression and destruction, as well as broken global system what fuels it.”
Sister of Abd el-Fattah, Sana Seif, who is also human rights activist, one of those who Was critical of Greenpeace.
“Greenpeace’s position is really disappointing and they should know better. A lot of of us concerned that African and Egyptian activists in danger big Western organizations have many more room and leverage to speak out, and make human rights a priority in Cop. If entities like Greenpeace was loud, there would be a lot of pressure on John Kerry is engaged with Sisi on human rights and climate at the same time,” said Sanaa Seif.
Last week Greenpeace UK new Executive Directors Ariba Hamid and Will McCallum released a statement calling for on The safe release of Abd el-Fattah and his return to the UK should be a priority for all UK diplomatic channels.
“Alaa’s life on the edge risk. He out of hope was on hunger strike from April 2, 2022. Since May 26, he consumes 100 calories a day – a teaspoon of honey and some of milk is all that kept him alive.” group said. “It is imperative that the UK goes beyond empty words and uses its considerable leverage to free Alaa and other prisoners, otherwise risk tacitly approving this pattern.
The statement was published on Thursday, the day after the Guardian emailed Greenpeace asking comment about your position on human rights in Egypt. group said his release of the statement was not related to the Guardian’s request.
In response, Seif said she welcomed Greenpeace’s initiative. decision highlight her brother’s plight and encouraged others international organizations attending Cop27 to call out human rights violations.
Greenpeace has also did not sign the petition of human rights activists coalition call on Egyptian authorities will open up civil space and release political prisoners.
The petition has been signed by almost a thousand organizations and individuals, including 350.org, Amnesty International, Greta Thunberg and the Climate Action Network, world’s largest climate network made up of over 1500 civil society organizations, also has not been signed by WWF or Oxfam among others international groups.