Has the Egyptian government fulfilled its commitments ???
Mennatullah: The phenomenon of street children must be curbed
Okeil: The biggest challenge is to respect human rights while combating terrorism.
The UN system must activate its decision to deter countries that support terrorism
In its side event at Geneva under, namely; “Four years after the UPR process, has the Egyptian government fulfilled its commitments?”.
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights reviewed its report on the human rights situation in Egypt, four years after the Egyptian government’s pledges to comply with its international obligations. The report was presented in 25 main point, tackling all the human rights, as well as 247 pledges accepted by the Egyptian government in whole or partially. Hence, these main points represent civil and political rights as well as social and economic rights.
The side event started with a minute of mourning for all the martyrs. Then, Mr Ayman Okeil, the General Director of Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights, who spoke about the previous stage under the name of “Years of Challenge”.
In his speech, Okeil stressed that the danger threatening Egypt and the whole world is the threat of terrorism, both at the homeland represented in the terrorist operations, or on the borders, such as terrorism in Libya. Furthermore, he added that there is a great challenge facing the world, which is respect for human rights during combating terrorism. Okeil referred in the opening of his speech to another challenge, which is the economic challenge facing the Egyptian state after two major popular revolutions (2011, 2013).
Then, Mennatullah Abdelraouf, Director of the International Mechanism Unit, reviewed the progress achieved by the Egyptian State regarding the social and economic rights, reviewing the number of the accepted recommendations by Egypt, and the implementation of these commitments.
Furthermore, she affirmed that despite the achievements made by the Egyptian State regarding this issue, especially the promotion of the rights of young people to participate in public life, support for persons with disabilities, and the launch of the project “Combating the worst forms of child labor in Egypt and supporting the family 2018-2025”. Along with, the “100 million health” initiative, which was launched by the Government in September 2018, In the area of health. However, there are some observations that a large number of Egyptian youth still suffer from difficult economic conditions. There is still an urgent need for greater legislative and procedural reforms to overcome the phenomenon of child exploitation and to curb the phenomenon of street children, as well as to overcome the problem of child labor in hazardous work. All of the previously mentioned require, the amendment of the laws concerning children, work, carehouse, and sanctions.
The report also affirmed that the country still faces difficulties in covering all the areas deprived of basic services including drinking water and sanitation, and despite the decline in annual inflation rates in 2018 to 17.5% compared to 31.8% in 2017. Along with expectations that the inflation rates would fall to 12.5% in 2019, there is still a rise in the prices of some commodities, as well as rising electricity and fuel prices.
In his comment on the civil and political rights and the commitments made by the Egyptian government, Okeil said that with regard to accession to international treaties, although Egypt signed many of them, it did not lift its reservation to articles (2-9-29) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and that Egypt did not also ratify some of the optional protocols.
With regard to the promotion of respect for human rights practices for law enforcement agencies, the Government has amended the Police Commission Act twice in 2016 and 2018. These amendments included, for the first time, police duties in the protection of rights and freedoms and the preservation of human dignity. But some of the individual practices, of which carried out by the police still contradict the substance of these legal amendments.
Moreover, as part of the cooperation with the UN mechanisms, the Egyptian government allowed the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, Lailani Farha, to visit Egypt from 24 September to 3 October 2018. On 16 November 2018, the Prime Minister issued a decree establishing the High Committee for Human Rights, which will be responsible for promoting Human Rights. As well as, being also responsible for developing a national human rights strategy and action plans for its implementation by the concerned authorities and their follow-up.
With regard to the protection of the rights of minorities, the Law on the Construction and Restoration of Churches has been issued, of which provided for the formation of a committee for the reconciliation of the conditions of churches. Henec, 627 churches have been codified.
With regard to the combating the illegal immigration and human trafficking, the Parliament approved on October 17, 2016, the law “Combating Illegal Immigration” which provided for the establishment of a national committee to combat and prevent illegal immigration.
With regard to the protection of peaceful assembly, despite the amendment of Article 10 of the Demonstration Law, this law still faces objections from political forces and activists groups, demanding the amendment of other articles such as articles 12-13.
With regard to improving the work environment of the organizations, President Sisi called on the government to form a committee to prepare a complete vision for amending the law of associations, especially in light of the difficulty of implementing Law No. 70 of 2017, which imposes severe and unprecedented restrictions on the work of NGOs.
With regard to combating violence against women and despite the launching of the National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women, 2015/2020, which deals with the protection of women from violence, crimes of sexual violence have not stopped in the private and public spheres.
With regard to the strengthening of efforts to combat terrorism, President Sisi issued a decision to form the National Council to Combat Terrorism in July 2017, which is a positive step in the existence of a coordination institution at least between the efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and the adoption of a national strategy for this. Hence, this Council had not yet perform its duties as required.
With regard to eliminating torture, the government is trying to try those accused of torture, as happened, for example, in the case of the torture of citizen called Mohammed Abdel Hakim and his fame “Afrotto” at the Mokattam police department.
With regard to fair trial guarantees, the current Code of Criminal Procedure sets up fair trial guarantees, but does not allow for accelerated procedures to reach justice.
With regard to the promotion of women’s rights, women have acquired 8 positions in the new government formation by 25%, and four women deputies from the total of 14 deputies, representing about 30% of the deputies. Moreover, there are two women in the position of Governor, and five women in the position of deputy Governor.
At the end of the report, Maat made a number of recommendations:
● Demanded the Government to accede to the international conventions to which it has not yet acceded, to lift reservations to articles of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and to report to the treaty committees on time.
● Investigate all allegations of torture and bring the perpetrators to trial, with the amendment of articles 126 and 129 of the Penal Code.
● Accelerating the amendments to the NGO law, and allowing civil society organizations to operate without restrictions.
● To continue efforts to combat corruption.
● To intensify efforts to combat violence against women and to continue to work for the economic, social and political empowerment of women.
● To intensify efforts to combat all forms of terrorism and extremism and to provide the necessary resources for the National Council to Combat Terrorism, to carry out its duties as required.
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