In the name of Giulio Regeni: declare Egypt as an unsafe country
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A few weeks ago, during a press conference promoted by the Human Rights Commission of the Italian Senate, Paola Regeni called her son “a young contemporary”, with that sweet and potent eloquence that she developed from her struggle.
In other words, she depicted him as a curious and smart young man, an attentive researcher who dedicated his life to study and knowledge, traveling around the world, learning different languages, attending schools and universities in numerous countries.
Giulio embodied the ideal of the European founding fathers, the best possible result of those cultural exchanges and and integration policies that we have so ardently supported over the past decades.
It is in order to protect this essential part of our European identity that, given the brutal murder of Giulio Regeni, we must recognise and declare Egypt as what it is: an unsafe country.
It was unsafe for Giulio as it is still unsafe for thousands of Egyptians, whose stories will never reach our ears. It could continue to be unsafe for many European tourists, workers, travellers, students and researchers that will go there in the future.
It is a country that has regular relations with our government, but where, nonetheless, the safety of an Italian citizen cannot be granted and where, whenever an individual’s safety is violated, adequate investigations to identify any accountability are not ensured and cannot be deemed secure.
A country where hundreds of citizens are abducted, tortured and murdered every year cannot be considered safe: in the last eight months, Egypt experienced 735 enforced disappearances: among them, 500 vanished without leaving any trace; furthermore, since January 2016 three people have been found dead with clear signs of torture on their bodies.
The matter of human rights cannot be regarded as a mere accessory to relations between Europe and Egypt. Instead, human rights are an utmost priority. We cannot contemplate a system of relations of any kind between a European country and a country that does not guarantee the respect of basic human rights in its territories.
The outrage that Italy suffered from Egyptian authorities in the last weeks does not only affect our country. It affects the entire European Union and the basic shared values that we believe in.
For these reasons, we urge the High Representative of Foreign Affair of the European Union, Commissioner Federica Mogherini, to evaluate any possible measure, considering the possibility to declare Egypt an unsafe country, encouraging European citizens, especially European “young contemporaries”, to avoid traveling to that country until the present regime demonstrates the concrete determination to cooperate in the search for the truth regarding Giulio Regeni and to guarantee the full respect of basic human rights.
We kindly invite you to share this call with your friends and contacts.
Senator Luigi Manconi
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