Egyptian Government Must Live Up To Its Human Rights Commitments in Geneva
Egypt will be reviewed at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) Universal Periodical Review (UPR) Wednesday, February 17, 2010. More than 100 Egyptian and international civil society organizations have contributed to detailed reports on Egypt’s human rights record, which will be addressed in the session.
“Egypt could be a leader of democratic reform in the Middle East, but its poor human rights record raises alarms,” said Paula Schriefer, advocacy director at Freedom House. She continued, “the Egyptian government’s plan to keep emergency law in place only prolongs its ability to use it as a justification for violating citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and association.”
Egypt’s official report to the UN, which was submitted to UNHRC last November, was somewhat encouraging because it mentioned many human rights grievances inside the country. However, the Egyptian government’s response ahead of the review session next week was disappointing. Dr. Mofid Shehab, the Minister of Legal Affairs and Parliamentary Councils, announced in a press conference yesterday that the Egyptian Government will “have to” extend emergency status, despite previous promises to abolish it, and that the Government will not allow international election monitors to fully observe the election process, which goes against international standards.
“The Egyptian government is already backtracking on its own report before it is formally discussed at the United Nations,” said Daniel Calingaert, Deputy Director of Programs at Freedom House. “This hurts their credibility. The Government of Egypt needs to uphold the promises they already made and be held accountable for future promises they make at the February 17 UPR session,” he noted.
Egypt is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House’s survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2009.
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