I have made clear on a number of occasions my concerns over the current human rights situation in Egypt. These concerns are widely shared by our EU partners, as should be clear from the firmly worded Conclusions on Egypt adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 10 February. While welcoming the adoption of the new Egyptian constitution in January, the Council deplored the absence of a fully inclusive process leading up to the referendum as well as expressing concern over the deteriorating human rights situation and the continuing use of selective justice against the political opposition.
Concern over human rights within Egypt has only intensified in the light of a series of extremely harsh sentences passed recently by the Egyptian courts. Ireland shares the widespread deep concern which has been expressed by many in the international community, including High Representative Ashton on behalf of the EU, regarding these verdicts and the clear failure to observe basic international standards governing the right to a fair trial.
The human rights situation in Egypt was also considered at the March session of the UN Human Rights Council. Ireland was one of eighteen EU MSs who associated with a strong cross-regional statement delivered during the session outlining concerns about the human rights situation and urging the Egyptian government to fully comply with its international obligations as well as fully implement the human rights provisions contained in the new Constitution. The EU Special Representative for Human Rights has also visited Egypt on a number of occasions in recent months in order to discuss and encourage stronger efforts on the part of the Egyptian authorities in upholding and safeguarding human rights.