UN Urge Egypt to release Political Prisoners Before HR Council Election

In a press release by the United Nations, Egypt was urged to release opposition leaders, journalists and bloggers before Thursday’s elections for the UN’s top human rights body


Egypt—which in its Council campaign pledge promised to “upgrade the level of its implementation of all human rights instruments which it has ratified,” including by “preserv[ing] the freedom of the press,” “strengthening the independence of the judiciary,” and “deepening its democracy”— must

   •  Release journalist Huwaida Taha Mitwalli, who is currently imprisoned for attempting to report on the government’s use of torture, as well as bloggers including Abd al-Monem Mahmud and Abd al-Karim Nabil Sulaiman (a.k.a. Karim Amer),who have been imprisoned for exercising their internationally protected right to freedom of expression.

   •  Announce that it will permit visits by, and fully cooperate with, the five Council Special Rapporteurs that have outstanding visit requests dating back as far as 1996 (the Special Rapporteurs on torture, human rights defenders, freedom of religion or belief, and the independence of judges and lawyers).

   •  Rescind its order to close the offices of the workers’ rights organization Center for Trade Union and Workers’ Services.


The detailed report on Egypt shows



FH Rating

RSF Rating



UN Voting Record

Suitability for Membership


Not Free

Difficult Situation

Authoritarian Regime


Not Qualified


FH: Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2007,  RSF: 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index by Reporters Sans Frontières, Economic Rating: Economist’s 2007 Index of Democracy, UN Voting: the Democracy Coalition Project’s analysis,

Background and Methodology On May 17, 2007, the UN General Assembly will elect 14 new Human Rights Council members. Fifteen countries are candidates. UN Watch and Freedom House evaluated each candidate’s suitability for Council membership based on the following information:

            • Its rating in Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2007, an annual study measuring political rights and civil liberties worldwide that ranks countries as free, partly free, or not free;

            • Its rating in the 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index by Reporters Sans Frontières, an annual evaluation of global press freedom that classifies countries as having a good situation, a satisfactory situation, noticeable problems, a difficult situation, or a very serious situation;

                        • Its rating in the Economist’s 2007 Index of Democracy, which considers a country’s electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, government functioning, political participation, and political culture, and ranks it as a full democracy, a flawed democracy, a hybrid regime, or an authoritarian regime; and

            • Its voting record on important human rights issues in the 2006 session of the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee and, if the country was a member, in the 2006-07 sessions of the UN Human Rights Council. Each country’s record was classified as positive or negative based on the Democracy Coalition Project’s analysis of Third Committee votes and UN Watch’s analysis of Human Rights Council votes.


UN Watch and Freedom House are nongovernmental organizations that monitor human rights mechanisms at the UN and advocate for greater promotion of human rights worldwide.


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