Egypt’s Forced Disappearances Record Raise Concerns Over Ethical Tourism

Forced disappearances in Egypt have always led various NGOs and international organisations to question the country’s human rights record. As per a report released by the Egyptian Commission for Human Rights in September 2020, there have been almost 3,000 forced disappearances in Egypt in the past five years.

With the emerging trend of ethical and responsible tourism, travellers have now become increasingly conscious about the environment of their destination country. Considering the hike in Egypt’s forced disappearances, various Italian activists are campaigning to convince people to avoid vacationing in Egypt.

Active campaigners have expressed their rage against the country’s systematic forced disappearances of dissidents on various social media platforms. One Campaigner posted, “A country that deals with torturers and murderers is in all respects complicit with them”.

Raising concerns over the mistreatment of Giulio Regeni and Patrick Zaki, the campaigners used the Italian hashtag — ‘don’t go on holiday to Egypt’ to stress upon why people should speak against the repressive government. Giulio Regeni is now understood as a martyr for all forcible disappearances in Egypt and his graffiti in Cairo represents just that.

Regeni was a student at the UK’s Cambridge University, who’d visited Cairo to complete his research work on independent trade unions. As per reports, Regeni had been kidnapped from the streets in 2016 and was tortured, beaten and stabbed to death by Egypt’s infamous security services. Despite pressure from global human rights activists, Sisi government has shut the case.

Another student who forcibly disappeared in Egypt is Patrick Zaki. An Egyptian master’s student at Italy’s University of Bologna — Zaki was arrested at the Cairo International Airport. Reportedly, The Egyptian National Security Agency took him to an undisclosed location from there. Authorities tortured Zaki with electric shocks and beat him on stomach and back.

Stressing upon how unsafe Egypt is as a tourist destination, an Italian campaigner stated, “We are convinced that tourism must also have ethics. Going on holiday to dictatorial countries where kidnapping and torture are used as a governmental tool means financing them. Egypt is an unsafe country”.

Since tourism accounts for more than 12 percent of Egypt’s GDP, negative human rights reports will deter all ethical travellers from visiting a country where forced disappearances are commonplace and thousands of innocents are unjustly killed. The country’s records clearly depict losses worth $1 billion per month due to the coronavirus outbreak. If the country doesn’t stop executing prisoners of conscience who raise their opinion against the government, all its efforts to promote Eygpt’s tourism will go in vain.

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