Tuesday, March 06, 2007

DOS Report on Egypt: The Good and the Ugly

The Department of State today released the annual human rights report and it contains its usual sharp and finely documented criticism of the Egyptian human rights record as "poor." You can find it here.

So why aren't activists excited? This used to be a report that gave strength to the Egyptian activists, confirmation of their concerns. The reason is the report fails to acknowledge U.S. complicity in some of the very abuses it documents. The War on Terror, and particularly the extraordinary renditions have put dozens of Egyptians at risk for torture. The irony is the the report again singles out the Egyptian record on torture for criticism. All true, but not true enough.

I haven't heard it, but I've been told that at the conference releasing the report, Secretary of State Rice stated that the U.S. human rights record isn't perfect. That's something I haven't heard from this administration before. That's too little too late, but somewhere we have to start taking the steps to rebuilding the credibility. I don't want to be too harsh on the DOS report, because once it served a very important tool for human rights and democracy work. I'm hopeful, one day, it will again.

Here's the Washington Post article on the report, with comments by AI's Larry Cox singling out Egypt.


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