A cross-section of MEPs have sent a letter to the EU’s foreign affairs chief calling on the EU to act against arrests, torture and summary trials of dozens of Egyptian LGBTQI+ youths.

The letter – signed by dozens of MEPs including 24 from GUE/NGL – was also addressed to the head of the EU Delegation to Egypt, outlined the most large-scale LGBTQI+ persecution by the Egyptian state for years.

The letter comes in the same week when a debate on the EU’s ‘renewed partnership’ with the Abdel Fattah al-Sisi regime in tackling terrorism and dealing with migrants was held at the European Parliament.

At the plenary, MEPs urged the Commission’s Foreign Affairs High Representative, Federica Mogherini, to ensure that Egypt upholds all its obligations to human rights in any deals with the EU.

Across Cairo this past week, at least 33 youths have been arrested by the Egyptian authorities for displaying a rainbow flag at a concert by the Lebanese pop band, Mashrou’ Leila. Concerns have been raised that many of them were arrested due to their alleged sexual orientation.

Commenting on the developments, GUE/NGL MEP Malin Björk stated:

“The crackdown on LGBTQI+ people is increasing at a time when the EU is renewing its partnership with Egypt. I think the EU needs to be clearer about its priorities and focus on human rights in its relations with Egypt. This violence and abuse must stop.”

“Just like in the EU’s relations with Turkey, the EU is turning a blind eye to the abuse and the unacceptable human rights situation in Egypt. At this time, the Egyptians struggling for democracy and human rights need our support the most. The EU's current approach is really not ok,” argued the Swedish MEP.

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