HRW: Egyptian Dissidents Denied Identity Documents


Egyptian authorities have systematically denied scores of dissidents and activists living abroad from accessing or renewing their identity documents, to pressure them into returning to Egypt, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has revealed.

In a report released on Monday, the New York-based rights group said the refusal of authorities to provide birth certificates or renew essential documents, including passports and ID cards, to dissidents abroad was intended to pressure them to “return to near-certain persecution in Egypt.” HRW said people’s inability to access these documents was a violation of their basic rights as it undermined their ability to travel, live, work legally, and access health care and education.

“The government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been turning the screws on dissidents abroad by depriving them of essential identity documents,” said Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW. Since former President Mohamed Morsi was removed in a coup in July 2013, el-Sisi has overseen a massive crackdown on dissent in the country. The brutal crackdown has pushed tens of thousands of Egyptian dissidents to live in exile, said the report.

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