February 3rd, 2010 by Editor
EOHR’s secretary general meets UN’s human rights officials
Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, secretary general of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights(EOHR) met with UN’s human rights officials (Julia Raue, Human rights officer -special procedures division, Birgit Kainz-Labbe, human rights officer- civil and political rights section /special procedures division, Adam Abelmoula, chief Middle East and North Africa section , Gloria Carrera Massana, human rights officer / Groups in focus unit -special procedures division/ office of the United Nation high commissioner for human rights) and a number of officials representatives in Geneva, in the preparation for the 7th session of the Universal Periodic Review on 28th and 29th of January 2010 in UN’s headquarters in Geneva.
The meeting discussed Egyptian governmental report on the status of human rights in Egypt in the light of continued imposition of the state of emergency and the increased rates of torture and laws which restrict freedoms and rights .
Abu Seada confirmed the importance of Egyptian government to cooperate with international mechanisms and the visits of special rapporteurs , especially the request of special rapporteur for torture to visit Egypt and the special rapporteur for terrorism who was allowed to visit Egypt formally.
Abu Seada reviewed the report prepared by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights for Universal Periodic Review on the status of human rights and constitutional and legislative structure in Egypt, pointing out that the Emergency Law No. 162 of 1985 constitutes a clear violation for human rights, also the legislative structure doesn’t witness any substantial amendments in accordance with the international covenants concerned with human rights. So the legislative environment is still filled with many of the laws which restrict the rights and public freedoms, for example, the Political Parties Law No. 40 of 1977 and recent amendments, law No. 84 of 2002 and the Trade Unions Law No. 35 of 1976, Professional Syndicates Law No. 100 of 1993, as amended by Law No. 5 of 1995, also the Penal Code is full with numerous crimes which restrict the freedom of opinion and expression in several articles. Also the Emergency Law No. 162 of 1958, constitutes another restrict on this right. Abu Seada called for amending these laws and enacting a bill for information freedom and to reconsider article 179 of the Constitution on terrorism, because it will lead to the legalization of the state of emergency as a constitutional case which will eventually lead to the violation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens. He confirmed the need to judicial supervision before any special procedures for combating terrorism , respecting for the rights of defense and the right to a fair trial in front of natural judiciary, and to emphasize on the presumption of innocence,
and the elimination of all forms of special courts and combating torture
so as to guarantee the amendment of the provision of article 126 of the Penal Code to be compatible with the provision of Article I of the International Convention for the Prevention of Torture – which was ratified by Egypt in 1986,and quickly decide on the bill which had already been prepared by the EOHR for amending some articles concerning torture in the Penal Code articles (126, 129, 280) and criminal procedures (63, 232).
Secretary general stressed that the report of EOHR emphasized the poor condition of economic and social rights , both as regards to the right to health, education and housing, as well as the system on civil and political rights , the right to body integrity and the right to life.
EOHR monitored 285 torture cases, 118 deaths as a result of torture during the period from 2000 till April 2009, in 2007 there were 3 deaths and 40 torture cases while in 2008 there were 17 deaths and 46 torture cases , since January – April 2009 EOHR monitored 5 deaths and 10 torture cases, besides the violation committed against the right to freedom and security of person . The number of cases of persecution and arbitrary detention during the last three years reached about 89 cases , besides poor conditions in prisons, including malnutrition – accumulation inside the cells and the lack of specialist physicians in prisons – the deterioration of conditions within the prison hospital , the deprivation from education and ill-treatment, as well as the phenomenon of forced disappearance.
It is worth noting that EOHR prepared a shadow report on the case of human rights in Egypt and will be discussed during July 2010, EOHR will participate as an observer during the presentation of official report which will be discussed on 17th and 19th February 2010.
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