U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo, Egypt, on May 26, 2021. The Biden administration reportedly decided to send military aid to Egypt despite human rights concerns raised by Congress. (AP/Alex Brandon)

CPJ condemns Biden administration bypassing human rights conditions in military aid to Egypt

In a joint statement today, the Committee to Protect Journalists joined 18 other civil society groups in condemning the reported decision by U.S. President Joseph Biden’s administration to send military aid to Egypt and bypass human rights conditions set by Congress.

The statement noted that the administration’s move to send $170 million in military aid, as reported by Politico and Reuters, “sidesteps the intent of Congress,” which had passed legislation to withhold such funds unless the Egyptian government acted to improve the human rights situation in the country. The statement notes that the administration agreed to temporarily withhold a further $130 million in military aid.

Previously, CPJ called on the Biden administration to refrain using human rights waivers to send military aid to Egypt, as used by the Obama and Trump administrations. As of December 1, 2020, Egypt was the third-worst jailer of journalists in the world, with at least 27 in prison for their work, according to CPJ’s latest prison census.

The statement called on the U.S. Congress to strengthen the language of next year’s appropriations bill to ensure that the administration cannot take similar action in the future.

The joint statement can be read here.