Free Alaa! Demand justice in Egypt
The 2022 UN climate summit in Egypt, COP27, is a crucial opportunity to act on the climate crisis and prevent the world spiralling into catastrophe. But there cannot be climate justice without respect for human rights.
Alaa Abd El-Fattah is a British-Egyptian human rights blogger, activist, and father currently held in prison by the Egyptian state for exercising his right to freedom of speech. Alaa has been subjected to inhumane conditions and kept as a prisoner of conscience for most of the last eight years. Alaa's imprisonment is illegal and immoral. His latest ‘crime’ was to share a Facebook post critical of the Egyptian regime — landing him a five-year prison sentence. Alaa has been on hunger strike since 2 April 2022 and will escalate his protest by no longer taking water on the first day of the COP27 climate summit.
Alaa is one among many. The Egyptian state track record on human rights includes the targeting, arbitrary detention and torture of tens of thousands of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, students and activists for exercising their rights. The Egyptian state has engaged in massacres, extrajudicial killings, and forced disappearances of its own people. In Egypt, Alaa is a symbol of resistance and freedom — by keeping him imprisoned, President El-Sisi's government aims to crush the spirit of resistance to its brutal regime.
The past four UN climate summits took place in Europe, reflecting the gross injustice at the heart of the climate crisis. Poorer Global South countries have done the least to cause the crisis, yet bear its sharpest impacts – while being sidelined in international climate discussions. It is vitally important that COP27 is taking place in Africa, and that the voices of Global South movements and governments will be heard. But we must not allow Egypt to use this conference to greenwash its human rights record, and we must show solidarity with the Egyptian people in their struggle for justice.
Write to your MP to demand the UK PM Rishi Sunak does everything in his power to bring Alaa home safely; and challenges Egypt on its human rights record at the upcoming COP27 climate summit.