Egypt Rights Groups Call for Repealing Emergency, Anti-terror Bill
Fourteen Egyptian rights groups called on the UN to pressure the Egyptian government to prevent the renewal of the 27-year-old state of emergency and the proposed anti-terror bill.
The organizations said in a press release that they completely reject using fighting terrorism as a pretext to legitimize the renewal of emergency or the drafting of alternative laws that would make it a permanent state.
“Imposing the state of emergency for such a long period contradicts with the tenets of international law which sets conditions for exceptional laws including wars or natural crises,” the rights groups said.
“The is no reasonable justification for using exceptional laws allegedly to fight terrorism especially because the dangers of terrorist activities have almost completely vanished after violent groups renounced their activities and made significant revisions to their ideologies.”
Resorting to exceptional laws either the emergency law or the anti terrorism law will prepare the ground for violence and terrorism, simply because the police state will be further empowered. Article 179 of the constitution, which was added in the constitutional amendments of 2007, grants the executive and the security apparatus exceptional powers which in effect repeal articles 41, 44, and 45 of the Egyptian constitution that guarantee the citizens’ right to freedom, security, and privacy. In addition, the definition of terrorism according to the amendments of 1992 can be deliberately misinterpreted to undermine political rivals, the rights groups said.
The signing organizations included the Egyptian Organization for Democratic Development, the Arab Network for Human Rights information, The Earth Center for Human Rights, Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies, and Hisham Mubarak Center for Law and Human Rights.