• February 1, 2016
  • 6 minutes read

UN Reconsiders Egypt National Council for Human Rights Credibility

UN Reconsiders Egypt National Council for Human Rights Credibility

 The United Nations’ International Coordinating Committee of National Councils for Human Rights (ICC) demanded that Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) must take a more balanced and impartial approach as it looks into human rights issues in Egypt.

The ICC (which is the supervisory body on the performance of the work of governments’ human rights institutions in accordance with the Paris Principles) is to consider the re-accreditation of Egypt’s NCHR in its next session.

In a recent report, ICC stressed that it had delayed the re-accreditation of NCHR despite repeated complaints since 2011, due to the special conditions afflicting Egypt and impacting NCHR’s work, adding that in the years 2012 and 2013 NCHR itself called for postponement of such re-accreditation.

ICC urged Egypt’s NCHR to cooperate with the new parliament in calls for the adoption of proposed amendments to its own law in accordance with the Paris Principles.

ICC further urged the NCHR to "remain vigilant in raising human rights issues in Egypt, to be balanced, unbiased, objective and neutral – in order to realize the independence condition in its work – and to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights of all people in Egypt, including issues related to freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary".

Ahmed Mefreh, Geneva-based Human Rights researcher, said: "The ICC’s decision to re-consider the Egyptian NCHR’s credibility in its next session is a clear message to NCHR, urging it to respect human rights standards in its investigation of violations committed in Egypt.

"The NCHR is appointed by the Egyptian regime. It has become a government tool to deny the violations committed by the army and police forces, especially in prisons and places of detention. Currently, its approach and practices (and that of its members) are totally unrelated to any type of professional human rights work."

The ICC operates through the Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) to study and review applications for accreditation, re-accreditation and special complaints received by the National Institutions and Regional Mechanisms (NIRMS) department of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as the ICC’s General Secretariat.

Hence, the SCA makes recommendations to the ICC and its members in relation to candidate institutions’ compliance with the Paris Principles. The SCA assesses compliance with the Paris Principles in terms of legal and practical contexts.
In accordance with the Paris Principles and rules of procedure of the ICC’s Sub-Commission uses the following rankings in its accreditation of candidate institutions:

A. Compliant with the Paris Principles;

B. Partially compliant with the Paris Principles or information provided is insufficient to make a decision;

C. No rating: non-compliance with the Paris Principles.

Since the establishment of Egypt’s NCHR, it holds a Category (A) accreditation. Numerous human rights organizations working on Egyptian rights issues called for reconsideration of that accreditation, especially with the deteriorating performance of NCHR work in Egypt during the last few years.

This ICC classification of the NCHR affects its credibility and the way international mechanisms for the protection of human rights deal with its reports.