The Egyptian government has canceled a planned visit to Cairo by German human rights commissioner Luise Amtsberg – apparently out of irritation at German activities on the subject of human rights. “The entry was stopped through diplomatic channels and canceled or not allowed by the Egyptian side,” the German press agency learned on Wednesday from government circles in Berlin.

In the past few weeks, the Green politician would have wanted to travel to the North African country with a delegation, among other things, for talks on the human rights situation in Egypt. The Egyptian side did not give an official reason for the step, it was said from Berlin. But it is probably a reaction to Germany’s activities at the COP27 world climate conference in November.

At the two-week UN conference in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, Germany campaigned for human rights with several events and some high-profile guests. After being followed by plainclothes security guards, the German delegation complained to the hosts that they were being watched and filmed at the pavilion.

Criticism of the human rights situation in Egypt

Organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch repeatedly describe the human rights situation in Egypt as devastating. An estimated 60,000 people have been detained since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in 2013. There are regular reports of overcrowded prisons, torture, unfair mass trials and executions. The government has announced improvements, but has sometimes brusquely rejected warnings, for example from the German side.

Luise Amtsberg has been the Federal Government’s Human Rights Commissioner since January 2022. The cancellation of her trip seems to be an expression of at least a tense atmosphere between Cairo and Berlin. The Egyptians are “sniffed” with regard to bilateral relations, say observers in Cairo.

In the last few days of COP27, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) was apparently denied a meeting with her Egyptian counterpart Samih Schukri, who chaired the conference. The two did not meet. Amtsberg was initially unavailable for comment.