The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.

Challenges:

Egypt faces substantial external and internal security challenges. Egypt continues to recover politically and economically from the tumultuous aftermath of the 2011 revolution. In Sinai and along the Libyan border, the Egyptian Army is combating ISIS. While there continue to be active terrorist threats, particularly in the northern Sinai Peninsula and areas adjacent to the borders with Libya and Sudan, the Government of Egypt has largely succeeded in reducing levels of violence and protecting the population. Overall, political stability has improved since President al-Sisi’s election in 2014, but police and security services continue to be the primary target of attacks from IS and new emerging groups intent on undermining political and economic stability. While terror attacks as a whole have slowed and are usually limited to the Sinai, there have been a few recent events, including a tourist bus exploding near the Pyramids at Giza in November 2018, as well as the discovery of a bomb outside of a new Coptic church in January 2019, that have led for increased concern over safety of the Coptic community. Allegations of police abuse and impunity are common in Egypt, though there are some indications of interest in investigating and prosecuting security forces. The ability and willingness of the government to ensure rule of law is limited. While crime levels are moderate overall, sexual assaults in Egypt have received particular attention from human rights groups which allege inadequate government responses contribute to the prevalence of the crime, including incidents of mass assaults during political demonstrations.

President Sisi’s re-election in 2018 provides continuity in governance and in the ongoing economic, education, civil service, and social reforms, even as the government has narrowed the space for political opponents, journalists, and civil society. Significant economic reforms improved GDP growth, employment rates, and inflation, although the Egyptian population continues to be under significant economic strain. A long history of reliance on the state to provide services has contributed to a culture of corruption. Political institutions, such as Parliament and the judiciary, remain weak and ineffective relative to the executive branch. Long-term challenges include managing high population growth, limited water supplies, environmental degradation, and dilapidated infrastructure. Religious and social intolerance are impediments to social and economic development.

Goals: INL programs improve rule of law and promote protections for human rights through criminal justice sector reform. INL programs build capacity to conduct effective criminal investigations, which include independently analyzed physical evidence and respect the rights of victims.

Accomplishments:

Since 2014, INL has increased programming to assist the Egyptian government in developing its criminal justice sector response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). This programming provides technical assistance and supports the coordination between multi-disciplinary actors involved in responding to these issues. As of August 2016, INL in partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) had provided five U.S. study tours for approximately 50 Egyptian justice sector officials focused on responding to sexual and gender-based violence. INL also partnered with the American Bar Association (ABA) to provide professional training for public prosecutors related investigating and prosecuting cases of SGBV. Approximately 300 prosecutors have received training to date.

Currently, INL supports the Public Prosecutor’s Office in developing its training academy, Criminal Research and Training Institute (CRTI), to provide public prosecutors with modern training on core investigative and prosecutorial functions. The purpose of this project is to build the institutional capacity of the CRTI to promote appropriate investigative and prosecutorial standards of practice through improved organizational management, curriculum and faculty development, and the delivery of training opportunities for Egyptian prosecutors.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future