How are Egypt’s restrictions influencing the COP27

How are Egypt’s restrictions influencing the COP27
Photo by Heiness via iStock

Eleonora Spina

Middle East Team Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence 

From November 6 to 18 the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) is taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, where world leaders will gather to seek coordinated action amid concerns about the climate change threat. [1] Since the beginning of October, prior to the beginning of the Conference, Egypt has been arresting dozens of people for calling for peaceful protests during COP27, which are an essential feature of any UN climate conference. [2] At the moment at least 151 people are being investigated by the Supreme Court State Security, while hundreds more have been arrested and questioned briefly. [3] Egyptian authorities don’t seem to be willing to change their strict no dissent policy for the Convention, and concerns are being raised about the arrival of world leaders in the country. 

Police checkpoints have been upgraded around the city and people are being stopped and forced to give up their phones to check into their social media accounts. Not only this, but the organization of protests is limited by the need to inform the authorities 36 hours in advance, the protests themselves are only allowed between 10:00-17:00 and are surveilled by installed cameras. [4] These measures appear to be a restriction on the ability of individuals to protest, and Egypt is being accused of violating the rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, which are necessary to promote climate action. [5] 

According to a UN report, presented at the 76th session of the General Assembly, the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly drive the battle for climate justice and have to be promoted to ensure that the fight continues. “Over these years the global community’s response to climate change has been unacceptably slow, with many governments intentionally delaying action or denying climate change altogether”,[6] this repression can happen through protest bans and laws or online harassment and physical persecution. [7] 

The rapid and constant increase of temperatures leaves no time; floods, droughts and fires are already leading to forced migration and famine, and in order to ensure a rapid transition to a zero-carbon economy freedom of expression, assembly and association must be protected. [8] 

Therefore, it is necessary to report the ongoing human rights crisis in Egypt. That is why Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard, who is going to attend the Conference, will call on COP27 delegates to address the importance of standing with the people of Egypt and pressure authorities to end their suppression. [9]

Sources & Further Reading:

[1]United Nations “COP27: delivering for people and the planet” <> accessed on 7 November 2022

[2]Human Rights Watch “Egypt: arrests, curbs on protests as COP27 Nears” (November 6 2022) <> accessed on 7 November 2022


[4]Amnesty International “Egypt: Arrests over calls for protests during COP27 expose reality of human rights crisis” (November 6 2022) <> accessed on 7 November 2022

[5]OHCHR “Exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association as essential to advancing climate justice” (23 July 2021) A/76/222


[7] Reliefweb, “COP27 delegates fighting for climate justice must also speak out on Egypt’s vicious assault on human rights” (3 November 2022) <> accessed on 8 November 2022