German Human Rights Commissioner: Taking the demands and concerns of the Egyptian people seriously
BERLIN, Germany, November 22, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, visited Cairo from 15 to 18 November. While there, he held high-level political talks and met with human rights defenders.
In response to recent developments in Egypt, Markus Löning issued the following statement in Berlin today (21 November):
“I am deeply concerned by the violent clashes in Egypt in recent days. During my visit I made clear to government officials that a country striving for democracy must protect freedom of opinion, not fight against it. The German Government is supporting Egypt as it builds up democracy and the rule of law. In return, however, we expect human rights to be respected. Egypt must remain steadfast in moving towards democracy, transparency and free elections.
During my visit I encountered signs of hope but also saw that Egypt still has a long path ahead of it. The Egyptian people toppled the Mubarak regime through great courage and dedication. So far there has been little evidence of the change they struggled for. Some institutional structures have changed only superficially.
The military rules are not governing transparently. Military courts have sentenced members of the opposition for publicly criticizing the military council. The cases of Maikel Nabil and Alaa Abd El Fattah offer two examples of this. In Cairo I stressed that the German Government opposes military courts as a matter of principle. In my conversations with Maikel Nabil's brother and Alaa Fattah's father I assured them of the German Government's support, and asked them to pass this message on to the prisoners.”
Markus Löning sought permission from the Egyptian authorities to visit Maikel Nabil Sanad and Alaa Abd El Fattah. His request was denied.