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    Egypt Urged to Ensure Civil Society’s Full Participation in COP27 Climate Summit

    EnvironmentClimate changeEgypt Urged to Ensure Civil Society’s Full Participation in...
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    Egypt Urged to Ensure Civil Society’s Full Participation in COP27 Climate Summit

    Civil society activists are concerned about a lack of information and transparent accreditation criteria for Egyptian NGOs, a coordinated increase in hotel tariffs, undue restrictions to peaceful assembly outside the conference venue and unjustified delays in the provision of visas.

    Authorities in Egypt must ensure civil society can safely and fully participate in the COP27 UN climate change conference taking place at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre 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.

    “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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    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 Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.

    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.

    Image: Laura Quiñones / UN News

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