Forum Calls for Reformation for Legislations related to Parties ,Press, Judiciary

Forum Calls for Reformation for Legislations related to Parties ,Press, Judiciary

The Egyptian Organization For Human Rights held a workshop in the framework of “The Egyptian Legislative Reform Forum ” supported by the European Union  under the tile of “ EOHR Initiative to Reform and Modernize the Legislative System to Conform with the International Covenants for Human Rights “ on 28/6/2008 at 11:00 am in the Bar Association club in Assiut governorate . The workshop included university professors ,judges ,members of the parliament ,representatives of political parties and civil society activists . Participants called the Egyptian government for accelerating the step of legislative reform specially the legislations related to political parties ,press and judiciary .Also they declared their adoption for the bills suggested by EOHR in this respect .

 Discussion was made on three sections , the first section entitled : Towards a new law for  political parties. Participants confirmed the necessary of amending the present law No.40 of 1977 so as to open the way to a real partisan life. Dr.Gamal Asaad Abdul Malak , former member of the parliament , confirmed that there is no real reformation without democracy . Dr. Ahmed Yassein Nassar , professor at Assiut university , agreed with him that the present law for political parties is useless because it allows the security bodies  to interfere in parties affairs .Mr.Mohamed Al Katatny , lawyer at cassation court, stipulated the idea of establishing parties related to religion on the condition that these parties are  not distinguishing between members of different religions .

In the second section entitled “Guarantees of the judiciary and judges in Egypt” . Participants discussed the final status of the judiciary independence and the rules of law that touch the rights and freedoms .Dr. Abdul Aziz Khalaf , professor at Assiut university , confirmed that without a fair and independent judiciary , press freedom ,parties freedom and fair elections will never be existed .

In the third section entitled  “Prison sentences  against  journalists “, participants confirmed that the obstacles of press freedom mainly lie in the dominant culture in society which condemns some forms of press freedom . This culture has to be changed before amending legislations related to the freedom of press.

At the end of the workshop , participants suggested some recommendations as follows :

– Canceling  all sanctions restricting the freedoms in publishing  cases.

– Issuing a guide  document for the exercise of press according to the press charter, and also respecting the right to privacy.

– Establishing an observatory for  follow-up daily newspapers to ensure their conformity with the press charter.

– Searching  for effective mechanisms to implement the provisions of the judiciary.

– Judiciary laws are not being submitted to  the Parliament, only after returning to the general assembly of judges.

– Ensuring the independence of the legal profession to support the independence of the judiciary.

– Activating political and partisan life  through releasing the freedom of parties establishment just by notification ,also canceling the committee of political parties which was formed according to Law No.40 of 1977 modified by Law No.177 of 2005 ,and enacting new bill for parties.

In this regard, participants welcomed the proposed bill adopted by EOHR which includes some democratic principles as follows:

Releasing the freedom of political parties without prior approval from any body .

The right of Egyptian citizens to join the party and withdraw voluntarily.

The right of members of parties to draft the main documents of political ,activities and elections programs without the intervention of the security bodies.

Political parties submission to the normal judiciary supervision .

The political parties abidance by the constitution and law without any added conditions such as national unit and social peace .

Parties with military, paramilitary formation, or parties based on religious grounds, or ideological or sectarian or ethnic lines are forbidden to be established.

 Parties will depend on contributions from their members, unconditional donations, and the support of the new state budget.  Parties will fully respect standards of transparency and accountability. They should be exempt from all taxes and fees related to their premises, newspapers and activities.

It is worth noting that this workshop comes within the framework of the legislative reform forum established in January 2007 supported by the European union and includes professors of constitutional laws and some partisan leaders and members of People’s assembly and human rights activists .

 This forum aims at amending the national legislations in accordance with the international standards for human rights stipulated in the international covenants concerned with human rights which were ratified by the Egyptian government through suggesting new bills imposed by the nature of the present situation and go a long with the international standards for human rights . As well as pressure to abolish such restricted laws which violate the civil  work, and finally discuss the bills submitted to the People’s Assembly and Shura Council and invite experts  for comment, to be submitted to  the president of republic and the president of  People’s Assembly and Shura Council.