WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, on Monday released the following statement on the Biden administration’s decision to send U.S. aid to Egypt despite human rights conditions that Congress placed on the security assistance.
“This was a big missed opportunity to stand up strongly and unequivocally for human rights. Egypt had almost two years to meet the human rights improvements required by Congress, but arguably the situation on the ground in Egypt has gotten worse. There’s virtually no space for dissent, 60,000 political prisoners remain locked up, and Egypt’s police state has tightened its grip on NGOs and the media. Continuing our security relationship with Egypt, with only minor changes, sends the wrong message,” said Murphy.
Murphy continued, “Listen, I’m glad the administration refused to certify Egypt has met the human rights conditions in the law, but this decision today is a half-hearted implementation of the statute. Other dictators and aspiring dictators notice when America talks tough on human rights but doesn’t follow through with bold action. This was a chance to send a strong message about America’s commitment to human rights and democracy, with little cost to our security, and we fell short.”
Murphy has been a vocal critic of Egypt’s treatment of political prisoners and recently held a Facebook Live discussion with human rights activist and former political prisoner in Egypt Mohamed Soltan. Murphy delivered remarks on the U.S. Senate floor calling on the Biden administration to withhold aid to Egypt based on human rights violations—specifically its treatment of political prisoners. In the past, the executive branch has routinely waived conditions that Congress placed on U.S. aid to Egypt.