August 17th, 2008 by Editor
EOHR 2007 Annual Report – Summary
Section One : Legislative Developments and Judicial Decisions and Procedures
The legislative development reflects the general trend of the political system whether applying more freedom and democracy or imposing further repression and violation against human rights . This development is considered one of the forms that measure the degree of democracy and freedom granted to citizens in any country .
In 2007 ,Egypt witnessed such developments in the legislative structure fluctuated between negative and positive , the constitutional amendments submitted by the President is considered a fundamental step in the path of development and democratic reform ,but some of these amendments – at the same time – are being attacked by severe failure in the drafting and content and violation against freedoms and human rights .This has been shown in Article 179 which will lead to codify the state of emergency to be a constitutional case and would ultimately lead to the violation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens. As for the amendment of Article 76 , the opportunity of independent candidates who are representing the vast majority of Egyptian people and is hindered in the candidacy for presidential elections as the ruling party controls a majority in all parliament assemblies, including local councils in governorates .Also the amendment of Article 88 of the Constitution exclude the direct judicial monitoring over the elections .
The amendment of some military rules issued by Law No 25 of 1966 is not considered a completed amendment as there is a severe defect in the legislative structure represented in the continuation of submitting civilians to the military courts which lack the basic standards of fair trial guaranteed by the Egyptian Constitution and the international covenants concerned with human rights .
Section Two: Human Rights Violations in Egypt in 2007
1. The Right to Life
The right to life is considered one of the most holy and indispensable rights ,neither law nor constitution is allowed to violate this right .
The Supreme Constitutional Court confirmed this right and praised it when it stated that “ It is not accepted to violate the civil rights of citizens and it is not admissible for any law to violate this kind of rights as it is precedent on laws and constitutions “.
The Egyptian Organization For Human Rights (EOHR) monitored about 93 cases of death due to torture during the period from 2000 to 2007 . Cases of torture are about 14 cases in 2007 with the rise of 8 cases compared to 2006 .
2. The Right to Freedom and Personal Security
This right is still restricted by security bodies inconsistent with the constitution and the international covenants related to human rights .
The report included the following :-
EOHR monitored about 226 torture cases during the period from 2000 -2007 ,about 40 torture cases in 2007 with the rise of 10 cases compared to 2006 .
Cairo governorate has the great deal of torture cases in this year in the amount of 7 cases , while Dakahlia governorate stand in the second grade with 4 torture cases , the third grade was for Al Gharbia and Alexandria governorates with 3 torture cases then the next grade for both of Giza ,Sharkia ,Ismailia and kaliobia as far as 2 cases per each .The last grade was for both of Kafr Al Sheikh , Sohag , Al Behira , Marsa Matrouh, Gharbia ,Menya ,Qena ,Port Said , Suez as far as 1 case per each governorate .
Second: The arbitrary detention:
EOHR monitored about 24 cases of persecution and ill-treatment in police stations distributed among the governorates of Egypt, where Cairo governorate in the lead with 6 cases while the second grade was for Al Sharkia governorate with 4 cases ,then Giza governorate with 3 cases and the fourth grade was for both of Assiut ,Menya ,Kafr Al Sheikh with two cases then the last rank was for AL Dakahlia ,Ismailia,Al Behira and Alexandria governorates.
Fourth: Political and criminal detention :
EOHR monitored 19 cases of repeated and long term detention for hundreds of individuals in a clear violation against the judicial decisions issued to release them . As for the criminal detention , there are about 12 cases exclusively .
3. Collective Punishment
The Mechanism of collective punishment is still one of the mechanisms that the government used to confront citizens despite that this mechanism violates the Egyptian Constitution and the international covenants besides ,violating a set of rights such as the right to freedom and personal security , the right to life and the right to body safety .
EOHR monitored about 14 cases of collective punishment during the period from 2004 to 2007 . These cases were represented in the events of Kalaa El Kabsh – that random area located at El Sayeda Zeinab district at the middle of Cairo ,which suffers from the absence of the main utilities and constructional planning . The fire broke out in this district on Tuesday 20/3/2007 at 11:00 am .The fire destroyed more than 86 nests and displacing more than thousand of homeless citizen . The security forces surrounded the area to force citizens to evacuate their houses without providing an alternative accommodation , besides the they used tear-gas bombs and arrested people randomly and illegally and transferred them to Al Tagamou Al Khames district at New Cairo .
As for the second case , it was in Kafr Turki village – Al Aiat –Giza .The inhabitants of this village objected to establish a station for strengthen the network of mobile phones , they tried to prevent workers to complete the establishment of the station the matter which led to a quarrel between residents and security forces who fired the residents with tear gas bombs to disperse people who threw stones against them but Security forces failed to disperse them the matter which force them to shot people by live bullets ,and the result was the death of Ahmed Hemdan Sayed and the injury of for 6 persons of the village .
As for the third case , it was in Safoura village – Darb Nagm –Al Sharkia where a dispute occurred over an old house, which led to the issuance of judicial decision and the security forces came to implement the decision with 21 security cars and 3 armored cars and 15 police box cars .A large number of citizens went to support the owner of the house ,but security forces randomly fired citizens with tear –gas bombs which led to the outbreak of fires on the surface of some housed and the injury for a large number of inhabitants due to the inhalation of the tear -gas and the faint for more than 100 pupils from the Safora primary school .
4. Forced Disappearance
Forced disappearance is considered a crime against humanity . It means to confine an identified person against his will by individuals of any branch of government or levels or by organized groups or private individuals allegedly acting on behalf of the government . These force subsidiary to the government hides the person and refuse to give information about his fate or just confess that he was detained .
EOHR has monitored about 70 persons disappeared compulsory since 1992 until 2007 , 17 persons were released while 54 persons are still lost. In 2007 , there is one case disappeared compulsory , which is “”Ayman Ahmad Said Ahmad Al-Numani” .
5. The Right to Freedom of Movement and Residence and Travel
Restricting the right to movement is still a normal case in Egypt which is contrary to the term of article 41 of the Constitution which stipulated that “ It is not permitted to restrict the freedom of any person or impose restrictions on his movement except for protecting the national security “. Also the Supreme Constitutional Court confirmed that “ The right to movement is one of the main aspects and it is available for every citizen “. EOHR monitored 5 cases of violating this right in 2007 .
6. Treatment of Prisoners and Detainees
Detention and deprivation of freedom is considered a main penalty for the prisoner due to his crime committed against the society , but at the same time it is considered a preparation and reformation for the prisoner in the framework of the penalty system for the prison .Although Article 42 of the Constitution confirmed that any citizen is arrested or detained should be treated in a manner that preserve its dignity , prisons still swarm with violations committed against the right of prisoners such as ill-health care and violating the right to education besides , torture and ill-treatment .
EOHR didn’t notice any significant improvement on the conditions of prisoners and other detainees in Egyptian prisons and this is considered a clear violation against the national legislations terms and the international covenants concerned with human rights .Also most reports and statements issued by the Ministry of Interior confirmed the continued development for prison and prisoners but EOHR didn’t monitored any development in most prisons as the penalty administration still mistreat prisoners and submit them to bad circumstances as a form of additional penalties . This part includes the following items :
Death cases :
EOHR monitored two death cases (Ismail Ali Ahmed Mohamed Borg Al Arab prison and Tamer Al Shazly Mahdy – Wadi Al Natron Prison .
Second: The persecution and ill-treatment
EOHR monitored about 11 cases of persecution inside the prisons in 2007 represented in the solitary imprisonment without food or water or visit .
Third : Poor health care
EOHR monitored about 341 cases of violation against prisoners health . In 2007 , there are 22 cases of poor health care.
Fourth: The strike inside prisons
In 2007 ,EOHR monitored about 3 cases of strike inside prisons .
Fifth: violating the right to education
In 2007 , EOHR monitored one case of violating this right ,this case belongs to the case of Ahmed Ibrahim Mohamed – Torah prison .
On the other hand , EOHR monitored a number of solicitation cases to transfer to another prison which come to 18 cases in 2007 while others ( 9 cases )submit a request of conditional release .
7. The Right to a Fair Trial
Providing the conditions of fair trial is one of the main guarantees which should be exist in any country willing to achieve justice and equality among people to establish the principles of democracy .
There are several violations imposed against this right including the military courts and State Security Courts .
EOHR Monitored a lot of Violations Related to the Fair Trial as follows :
First : The Military Courts
EOHR monitored during the period from 1991 to 2000 about 34 cases before the military courts . In 2001 , two cases ( Al Wa’ad organization – Al Asatzah organization ) were discussed . In 2003 , EOHR monitored the 34 civilians submitted to the military court in the case of “Gond Allah “ while year 2004 witnessed the case of “Ahmed Agiza “which know later by “ The case of returnees from Albania “ . Also two cases were discussed in 2006 ( the case of Hatem Al Balak , reporter of Al Tagamou , and Talat AL Sadat , member of the Parliament ) . Also EOHR monitored the case of “Khirat Al Shater” and others in 2007 .
Second : The Supreme State Security Court
EOHR monitored 3 cases before the Supreme State security courts in 2007 ( the case of Al Azhar explosions – Mohamed Al Atar who was accused of contacting Israel – Mohamed Sayed Saber who was accused of contacting Israel – the case of Srando peasants ).
Third: Investigations of State Security Prosecution
EOHR monitored about 194 citizens submitted to investigations before State Security Prosecution distributed into 30 cases including 16 cases transferred from partial prosecution to State Security prosecution .
8. Freedom of Expression:
The situation of freedom of opinion and expression and press freedom in Egypt did not witness improvement in 2007, as the picture is getting darker in the light of the continued policy of suppressing free opinions, continuing of imprisonment and attacks on journalists and prosecuting them, in addition to internet bloggers, as well as the exposure of those who work in the field of satellites channels to trials and persecution, also confiscation of books. All these violations were in contradiction of the Egyptian Constitution and international covenants on human rights ratified by the Egyptian government and become an integral part of domestic law in accordance with Article 151 of the Constitution, despite the presidential promise to prevention imprisoning journalists and to launch freedom of opinion and expression.
This Section will include:
Assaults on Journalists and Mistreatment:
EOHR monitored numerous cases of mistreatment of journalists and abuses, while the number of such cases during the period from 2000-2007 were approximately 27 cases, in 2007 about two cases which is similar to previous year 2006. The peak was in 2000 at about ( 11) cases, and in 2001 the lowest as EOHR did not monitor any occurrence attack, while monitored in 2003 and in 2005 about (4) cases, while in 2002 and 2004 only two cases.
Journalists before the Prosecutor Office:
EOHR monitored during the period in 2000 till 2007 approximately 27 cases of journalists before the Public Prosecutor, and in 2007 the number of cases retreat from the previous year to two cases, while in 2004 and 2005, the number of cases against journalists reached (6) cases.
Journalists before Courts:
EOHR monitored during the period in 2002 till 2007 approximately 90 cases of journalists before the courts, where in 2006 came on top of years, which witnessed the trial of 26 journalists, followed in second place by 2007 with 22 cases, and in third place 2003 with 16 cases, while in 2002 there were 12 cases, followed in 2004 by 9 cases, and ranked last in 2005 by 5 cases.
Internet and Bloggers:
EOHR included this new section in this years report, as there were many cases monitored related to bloggers, whether by direct assult on them or by referring them to the prosecution office and court.
Satellites and Freedom of Information:
2007 witnessed grave violations against satellite channels and those who work in them. These cases included refereeing them to prosecutor office or to court, including Howaida Taha of AlJazeera.
2007 witnessed the continuation of the confiscation of books and literature, among them books confiscated such as Sedition “Fetna between Shiites and Wahhabi and Sufi” by Dr. Mohamed Amara.Also a book series “Fatwas of the Sunni Ulama “- the author is Abu Abdul Rahman Mohammed bin Wagih. Also a newspaper was refused permission to be issued called Maspiero, confiscation First issue Magazine Ebtaa “Creativity”, and at the same time the Cairo International Book Fair in its Ninth Session in 2007 witnessed the confiscation of many scientific and political books.
9. Right to Peaceful Assembly:
The right to peaceful assembly still among the rights been grossly violated by the Egyptian government, which is contrary to Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the Egyptian government and become an integral part of domestic law in accordance with Article 151 of the Constitution, which stipulates the right to peaceful assembly is recognized and there may be no restrictions on the exercise of this right, except those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society for the maintenance of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of public health or morals or the protection of human And freedoms of others.
At the same time, the Egyptian legal system still full of laws that hamper many of this right, and because some of these laws belong to the era of British colonial Egypt, including Law No. 10 of the crowd in 1914, and meetings and demonstrations Act No. 14 of 1923.
10. Social and Economic Rights:
The Constitution guarantees economic and social rights, as well as the Egyptian law and many international covenants on human rights and ratified by the Egyptian government and become an integral part of domestic law in accordance with Article 151 of the Constitution. Yet these rights are still exposed to various violations, both in terms of actual practices or legislative or legal. EOHR monitored in 2007 many violations of these rights.
Social and Economic Rights will be listed as follows:
Right to Work:
EOHR monitored 101 cases of violation of the right to work during the period of 2003 until 2007, and 2007 came to occupy the peak, which witnessed violations of the right to work reached 65 and and more than the previous year which was 10 cases. Those cases were distributed among the various governorates and occupied the Egyptian governorates of Cairo, Giza with the largest share by (9) cases, were ranked second in both the Sharquia and Qena by (6) cases each, and came in third place the Upper Egyptian governorate (5) cases each, followed by both Dakahliya and Qalubia governorate with (4) cases each, followed in fifth place by Assiut with (3) cases, and came in ranked sixth Kafr Al-Sheikh, Beheira, Marsa Matrouh, Fayyoum, Sohag and Gharbeyia (two cases) each, were ranked last in is Damietta, New Valley, Menoufiya, Suez, Port Said and Aswan by one case each.
Right to Health:
EOHR monitored during the period from 2003 – 2007 nearly 102 cases of violation of the right to health. In 2007 there were about 16 cases, and Cairo governorate came in the forefront of provinces that have experienced violations of this right by 5 cases, followed by Giza in second place with 3 cases, followed by Kafr Al-Sheikh, Menoufiya, Ismailia, Beheira, Gharbeyia, Alexandria, Sohag and Damietta by one case each.
Right to Housing:
EOHR monitored during the period of 2003 until 2007 nearly 124 cases, where 2007 accounted for approximately 34 cases, with a retreat of only one case in 2006. Cases have spread all over the country and occupied Cairo governorate ranked first with 9 cases, followed in second place Kafr Al-Sheikh with 6, followed in third place by Giza and Behayra by 3 each, and ranked fourth Beni Suef Governorate, Menoufiya, Sohag, Alexandria and Minya with 2 cases each. While ranked last are Qena Governorate, Gharbia and Sharquia by only one case each.
Right to Education:
EOHR monitored during the period from 2003 to 2007 about 47 cases, and 2007 accounted for approximately 13 cases, those cases have been distributed to the various governorates while Cairo occupied the largest share (5) cases, followed by Dakahlia in second place by (3 ) Cases, and came in ranked last each of the Suez, Qena, Aswan, Minya with one case each.
Right to Clean Environment:
EOHR monitored in 2007 about 33 cases of violation of the right to environment, which varied between problems in sanitation, damaged mobile networks, damage from exposure air pollution and water, and lack of safe drinking water. These cases spread to various kinds of violation in different governorates of the republic, where Cairo came in first place with 8 cases, followed in second place by Giza with 5 cases, and ranked third in Kafr Al-Sheikh with 4 cases, and ranked fourth in Menya and Sharquia by 3 cases each, and then Al Dakahlyia with two cases, then Assiut, Qena and Aswan with one case each.
Right to Clean Water:
EOHR monitored in 2007 about 16 cases of violation of the right to access to clean water, and these cases spread to different governorates of Egypt like Kafr Al-Sheikh which have experienced a violation of this right by 7 cases, followed in second place in the Sharquia by 3 cases, followed by the Qena and Dakahlyia with two each, and ranked last in both the Qaliubiya and Cairo with one case each.
Right to Social Security:
One of the new files opened by EOHR this year is the right to social security, as ensured by the Constitution and international covenants on human rights the right of citizens to receive proper retirement, however, EOHR in 2007 allocated some forms of violations in this context, since citizens still find it extremely difficult to obtain insurance and pension convenient for them, as well as the slow disbursement procedures of pensions, in addition to the calculation error extended the demission of the pension, dropping further periods, and the disruption of pension owed to the detriment of nationals transferred to a pension and their families.
EOHR monitored in 2007 about 24 cases of violation of the right to social security, and these cases were distributed among different governorates of Egypt. Cairo, Menya and Qena had 4 cases, in second place Giza with 3 cases, and ranked Third Gharbia with two two, ranked last Dakahlia Assiut, Alexandria and Beheira with one case each.
11. Right to Form Political Parties and Syndicates
this part includes the following three sections:
First: Political Parties:-
2007 did not witness any significant improvement in the role of the Committee on Political Parties. During this year it has approved only one party which is the Democratic Front Party, bringing the number of political parties in Egypt to 24 parties. As for the frozen parties, there are still 4 parties frozen since 2000 which are “the Labor Party, the Social Justice party, the Liberal Party, Young Egypt Party ” and the notes in this regard that there is a marked improvement, as approved by the Committee on Political Parties for allowing party to return to the democratic exercise of partisan activity. With regard to parties which have applied for the establishment and rejected by the Commission, no ruling by a court allowed any of these parties to be founded.
Like political parties, there was no positive development. Law 84/2002 still enacted with all its deficiencies in addition to closing of two NGOs.
2007 has seen little about the performance of the evolution of the role of trade unions in protecting the interests of its members or contribute to the strengthening of trade union development on the other hand. In light of the continuing work by Law No. 100 of 1993 and amended by law 5 of 1995 to, EOHR observation of the elections of the Press Syndicate, which was held on 17/11/2007 at the Syndicate in Cairo, as well as monitoring elections of the Special Committee at the Press Syndicate in Alexandria in November 2007.
12. Right to Political Participation
EOHR monitored in 2007 a series of violations of the right of political participation, where it witnessed the referendum to amend 34 articles of the Constitution, a number of negative phenomena which have affected the will of the voter such as the electoral rolls, the closure commissions to the electorate, draft cards to express an opinion in favour the amendments, the widespread use of electoral bribes paid in cash or as gifts, the growing phenomenon of the collective voting, in addition to preventing monitors from entering ballot stations. With regard to half-term elections to the Shura Council in 2007, EOHR monitored a number of violations, particularly the delay in announcing the final rolls of candidates, arresting some candidates and their supporters, voting for candidates of the collective national, non-use of phosphoric ink, as well as the absence of judicial supervision, which led to the phenomenon of color cards, also witnessed a complementary elections for the People’s Chambers Manial and Zawya Hamra is the most prominent of the various of other violations of collective voting for the NDP candidates and independents, and the spread of the phenomenon of the distribution of election bribes, and weak public turnout at the polls.
At the level of student elections EOHR monitored some violations, such as intervention in the management of some universities traveled in the elections, and the exclusion of independents and students belonging to different ideologies.
13. Rights of Egyptians Abroad
As continuation of the previous years, 2007 did not witness any significant evolution in the file of Egyptians abroad where the continued introduction of the guarantor “kafeel” in the Gulf states, and the continuation of arrests and arbitrary detention without fair trial procedures, compounded by lack of serious action by the Egyptian government to take concrete and determined steps to defend the rights of Egyptians abroad. EOHR monitored during the year 2007 about 52 cases of violation at significantly from the previous year, reaching the number of 31 cases.
This Chapter is divided in two sections:
Section I: monitor violations suffered by Egyptian workers in Arab states, monitored by EOHR during in 2007 about (47) case, distributed as follows (16 cases of both Saudi Arabia and the State of Iraq, 7 cases in Kuwait, two in each From the UAE and Libya, and one case in each of Syria, Jordan, Qatar and Sudan).
Section II: monitor violations suffered by Egyptian workers in the non-Arab and monitored by the Egyptian Organization in 2007, has reached nearly 5 cases, spread out in this way (two cases in USA, and one in each of Italy, the Netherlands and Germany ).
14. Discrimination Against Women
There are still many of legislation that are inconsistent with the rights of women, including the new bill, as well as masculine culture prevailing in society and violate the rights of women are essential and contribute to high rates of violence against them.
EOHR monitored during the period in 2003 until in 2006 some 50 cases of violence against women, and this year came in the 2007 on top of the biggest violation of this right, and ranked second in 2003 and 2006 by 11 cases, and came at last in 2004 with 4 cases.
Section Three: Human Rights conditions in Egypt … international perspective
In the light of the accession of Egypt in 2007 for membership in the International Council for Human Rights, EOHR considered this section of the report to show a vision of international organizations for human rights conditions in Egypt and the extent of Egypt’s commitment to its pledges to promote human rights during its accession request of the International Council, came to this section containing the :
First: a vision of international organizations for human rights conditions in Egypt
Includes display of reports issued by international human rights organizations in the world on the status of human rights in Egypt in 2007, and most important of these organizations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are two international non-governmental organizations, as well as the report issued by the U.S. State Department On the status of public freedoms and human rights in various countries around the world.
And in this regard; we can say that the reports issued by these organizations regarding the status of human rights in Egypt have coincided with a whole allocated by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Egypt in 2007. Where are all agreed that what Egypt has done to improve human rights conditions have not resulted in significant improvements since all international parties sought to maintain a good relationship with the Egyptian government, and therefore these pressures have not succeeded in conducting a legal and legislative amendments to ensure adequate respect of Part of the government system of human rights committed by Egypt’s borders. The reports agreed with the report of the International Organization regarding the violations suffered by system, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to organize, freedom of association and women’s rights, the independence of the judiciary.
Second: Egypt and the membership of the International Council for Human Rights
The backdrop for the emergence of the International Council for Human Rights and its terms of reference and composition, duration and Egypt’s membership of the Council and the voluntary pledges as commitment to promote human rights both at international and regional as well as at the local level.
Section Four: activity by EOHR in 2007
This report contains a review figures and statistics of the activity of the organization through 2007 compared with previous years:
1. Field work, including the handling of complaints received by the organization and fact-finding missions, monitoring the investigations, trials and prison visits.
2. Informing the public opinion of the human rights situation in Egypt, including reinforcing of press releases, reports , conferences and symposiums
3. Media impact of the activity of the organization in the press which includes monitoring of the main issues raised by the organization were covered in the Egyptian press and Arab press too.
4. International activity of the organization and a reference to the Egyptian Organization participation in conferences and international meetings of regional and outside Egypt.
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