Egypt hits back at U.S. over human rights
Egypt said on Saturday that the United States had no right to set itself up as a global guardian of human rights and rejected Washington’s criticism of Cairo’s record, saying it was based on inaccurate information.
The U.S. State Department, in an annual report, cited Egypt as one of several countries where observance of human rights had deteriorated in 2006 and said violations there included “severe” cases of torture.
“The United Nations did not grant any state the right to consider itself a guardian of human rights in the world,” Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit was quoted as saying in a statement.
“It seems that those who prepared it (the report) are unfamiliar with the objective realities of some of the countries they dealt with, including Egypt,” the statement said.
Aboul Gheit said the report was based on inaccurate and incomplete information. While Egypt and the United States were in agreement about the importance of human rights issues, they nonetheless disagreed “sometimes” over some of the practical aspects, he said.
The report, released on Tuesday, said torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees by police, security personnel and prison guards remained “common and persistent” in Egypt.
Egypt says it does not condone torture and that it only occurs in isolated instances. The Interior Ministry has said before that allegations of systematic torture were exaggerated to tarnish the image of the police.
But both international and local rights groups say torture is systematic in Egyptian jails and police stations.