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Monday, 6 March 2017

General Intelligence hires Weber Shandwick as DC lobbyist as State Department criticizes Egypt’s human rights record

Egypt’s General Intelligence Service hired Weber Shandwick to lobby on Egypt’s behalf in the US for USD 1.2 mn, according to the Associated Press, which cites documents on the Justice Department’s website. “The contract posted on the site shows that the company will assist Egypt in ‘promoting its strategic partnership with the United States,’ highlighting its economic development, showcasing its civil society, and publicizing Egypt’s ‘leading role in managing regional risks.’”

The lobbying is entirely warranted considering the US State Department’s critical report on Egypt’s human rights record, which drew the ire and objections of Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. The report — part of the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016 — says that Egypt’s most significant human rights issues include excessive use of force by security forces, deficiencies in due process, and the suppression of civil liberties. Responding in a  statement, the Foreign Ministry stated that the report reflects the American viewpoint, and is not in any way related to contractual legal frameworks to which Egypt commits, including its membership in UN organizations. The ministry said human rights conditions are monitored by independent, governmental organizations, as well as the House of Representatives.

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