The years following the “25 January Revolution”, the human rights outlook in Egypt remains grim. Chief among the triggers of the uprising in 2011 were growing levels of poverty and inequality, soaring unemployment, endemic corruption, police brutality and other human rights violations. After three years of chaotic transition, the revolt’s root causes not only remain but in some cases have grown more acute. The old patterns of human rights abuses under Hosni Mubarak remain in place.
At each round of voting, successive governments promise stability – craved by millions of Egyptians hit hard by the deteriorating socio-economic conditions. However, stability has yet to be delivered and the motto of the uprising, “bread, freedom, social justice”, rings hollow. Instead, Egypt has suffered a number of human rights setbacks, not least since the removal of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July 2013, including the killings of up to 1,000 people on August 14, 2013, during the dispersals of sit-ins by his supporters by security forces.
Today, the space for human rights activists to express their views has shrunk, particularly in media outlets, both private and public. Instead, they have faced a vicious media campaign attempting to discredit them and dubbing them as “traitors” and “agents” of Egypt’s enemies with ulterior agendas. Some of the names strongly associated with the “January 25 Revolution”, including one of the founders of April 6 Youth Movement, Ahmed Maher, and blogger and opposition activist Alaa Abd El Fattah, find themselves behind bars for breaking the repressive new assembly law.