The Italian CGIL union federation has announced a boycott of COP27 under the presidency of Egypt in protest at ongoing repression by the Sisi regime and in memory of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni who was tortured to death in Egypt in 2016. The CGIL statement notes that the Sisi regime continues to grant “impunity to those who tortured and killed Giulio Regeni, detained Patrick Zaki, as well as many other activists, solely for having expressed their ideas.
The trade union federation also condemned the “climate of repression”, “criminalisation of protests” and attacks on trade union freedoms, concluding “social justice, climate and human rights are interconnected
and must be addressed simultaneously and acted upon with radicalism, urgency and justice.”
>> Read the full translation of the CGIL statement below
The CGIL announcement follows an urgent call from Egyptian activists to grassroots movements around the world not to fall into the trap of allowing the Sisi regime to “greenwash” its reputation by attending COP27 while Egyptians themselves are unable to express themselves or protest, and tens of thousands are locked up in jail on fake charges.
The British TUC has also condemned the Sisi regime’s assault on human rights and trade union freedoms while LGBTQ+ activists have raised the alarm over the torture and harassment of LGBTQ+ people in Egypt. Meanwhile, major figures from the climate movement are urging action to ensure the release of political prisoners such as British-Egyptian citizen Alaa Abdelfattah, who has been on hunger strike for several months. Alaa is a well-known activist and writer who has been imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of his ideas.
During 2021 Egypt issued more death sentences than any other state worldwide and carried out at least 83 executions. Over the past ten years the Sisi regime has constructed over 60 new prisons: human rights organisations estimate that the regime is holding at least 60,000 political prisoners, many held in indefinite detention without trial.
What you can do:
- Read the full statement from Egyptian activists online here
- Share with climate networks in your country and on social media
- Take action in solidarity with Egyptian political prisoners, write to your MP or government calling on them to demand the Egyptian regime releases political detainees and stops repressing protest. Go to FreeAlaa.net for more information on Alaa’s campaign.
CGIL – We will not participate in COP27
Italian here (English translation via CGIL)
Object: COP27 Sharm el Sheikh
CGIL will not participate in the COP27 which is taking place in November in Sharm el Sheikh. CGIL believes that it is unacceptable that the UN climate conference is held under the presidency of the Egyptian government. Egypt has been granting impunity to those who tortured and killed Giulio Regeni, detained Patrick Zaki, as well as many other activists, solely for having expressed their ideas.
In Egypt the rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and protest are not guaranteed. The country is subject to a climate of repression, even with the use of force, and the criminalization of protests. Independent trade unions are severely hindered in the free exercise of freedom of trade union
rights and the national law regulating the right to strike and trade union freedom violates ILO Conventions C87 and C98. This context poses a severe limitation of the freedom of organization, movement, mobilization and protest of climate activists and trade unionists. For CGIL all this is unacceptable. Social justice, climate and human rights are interconnected and must be addressed simultaneously and acted upon with radicalism, urgency and justice.
CGIL will continue its commitment to affirm the right to social and climate justice, human and labor rights, full and quality employment, active and democratic participation. We will do so in other venues and places, with all those organizations, movements and activists who share our values. We owe this to the memory of Giulio Regeni and all the other activists that have been unlawfully detained.