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COP27 bulletin: Bloomberg says Egypt summit ‘Most Chilling of Climate Talks’,  and Alaa Abdel Fattah’s lawyer denied access to prison

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Below is an overview of the latest updates regarding the COP27 summit currently held in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh.

Accommodation problems:

A Bloomberg report shed light on “disturbing incidents” which activists and conference participants had to deal with in the first week of the summit. Three young government delegates were forced to leave their accommodation for refusing to pay a higher price for a room than the one they agreed in advance. In another incident, some 80 activists “were crammed into dirty rooms full of cigarette ends, some without locks, and were awoken in the middle of the night by hotel personnel asking for their identification.”


The Bloomberg report added that conference participants in a high-level meeting realized that an unidentified Egyptian man was among the attendees, raising suspicions that he was a government agent eavesdropping on the meeting because he did not explain who he was when asked and rushed out of the room.

The report added that this year’s COP has witnessed much less protests than previous ones due to Egyptian government restrictions on protests.

“In COP26, I remember there being interventions and direct actions constantly – in total they mobilized between 300,000 and 400,000 people,” Eyal Weintraub, co-founder of Youth for Climate Argentina, told Bloomberg. “This time, there probably won’t be any mobilization or any strike,” he added.

Restrictions on civil society:

Reuters reported that the restrictions imposed on civil society since the ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2013, Mohamed Morsi, have cast a shadow over the conference. Activists told the news agency that the restrictions undermine the accountability and transparency needed to ensure that states adhere to and respond to the climate crisis and deliver on those promises.

“When civil society is contained here, less people come. That of course reduces our capacity,” Asad Rehman, director of the UK anti-poverty group War on Want told the agency.

“There is absolutely nothing taking place outside the official venue. There is no people’s summit, there are no demonstrations.”

Protest during Biden’s speech:

With regard to US President Joe Biden’s visit to the conference, some climate activists raised banners during his speech, and some briefly raised banners condemning the use of fossil fuels, before security forces intervened to take down the banners and escorted them out of the room. In his meeting with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Biden brought up human rights, among other issues.

Alaa Abdel Fattah denied lawyer visits again:

Concerning the case of the hunger-striking detainee Alaa Abdel Fattah, his family published a copy of the pardon request they submitted to President Sisi. Meanwhile, the families of the detained human rights lawyer Mohamed Baker and the blogger Mohamed Oxygen, who were convicted in the same case as Abdel Fattah, also submitted a request for pardon.

On Sunday, Khaled Ali, Abdel-Fattah’s lawyer, announced that he had been denied entry to the Wadi El-Natrun Prison where his client is held, despite having a permit from the public prosecution. This is the second time Ali is refused a visit despite having a permit.

In terms of calls to demonstrate on 11 November, the Committee for Justice documented the detention of 45 people, and their interrogation at the Supreme State Security Prosecution on November 12 in connection with the calls.

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