After having been at the forefront of the Arab uprising, Egypt has witnessed an unprecedented human rights crisis in recent years. Since the 2013 military takeover, abductions, enforced disappearances, torture and arbitrary detention have become systematic. The government led by Field Marshal Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi has instituted a widespread repression of all critical voices, including members of civil society, the media and opposition parties.
Violations to the right to life have also become a major concern. In 2013, the use of live bullets to disperse crowds of protesters led to more than a thousand deaths of civilians, while the lives of individuals in detention continue to be endangered by torture, mistreatment and a lack of medical care. The number of death sentences handed out has also increased, particularly following mass trials to prosecute opponents and demonstrators in the wake of the military takeover.
Fundamental freedoms have been virtually emptied of their substance through the enactment of laws criminalising peaceful dissent and independent media work, forbidding demonstrations and putting the work of NGOs under the strict control of the executive. At the same time, the use of counter-terrorism legislation to prosecute individuals for peaceful criticism is a growing trend.