ADDIS ABABA (Halbeeg News)-Human rights groups have said they are very concerned about Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah Sisi as the new chairman of the African Union.
President Sisi is expected to take the new rotational position during 32nd ordinary African Union summit on Sunday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
Amnesty International has called upon the African Union to uphold human rights principles.
“The African Union member states must ensure that Egypt, as political head of the organization for 2019, upholds the African Union’s values and principles, including respect for human and peoples’ rights,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty’s North Africa Campaigns Director.
Amnesty said Egyptian authorities have carried out mass killings of protestors, widespread enforced disappearances, and sentenced hundreds to death following unfair trials.
“During his time in power President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has demonstrated a shocking contempt for human rights. Under his leadership the country has undergone a catastrophic decline in rights and freedoms,” said Najia Bounaim.
“There are real fears about the potential impact his chairmanship could have on the independence of regional human rights mechanisms and their future engagement with civil society.”
According to Amnesty, since 2015, Egypt has orchestrated a vicious and sustained political attack against the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the mechanism that aims to monitor African states’ human rights records. Dozens of cases alleging severe human rights violations have been lodged against Egypt at the ACHPR.
The authorities have also orchestrated the worst crackdown on freedom of expression in the country’s recent history.
The Egyptian parliament is currently considering a number of proposed constitutional amendments that would expand the scope of military trials, undermine judicial independence and allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay on as a president until 2034 potentially.