February 21st, 2010 by Editor
The Citizenship .. The absent culture
21 February 2010
Hafez Abu Seada
Chairman of EOHR
Article I of the Egyptian Constitution provided that “Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic state based on citizenship,” despite this constitutional amendment, the present situation confirms that the citizenship is just like ink on paper, the Egyptian street lacks the culture of citizenship which is considered the culture of practicing rights and conducting duties guaranteed by the constitution and law within the framework of democratic atmosphere, on other words the rights of citizens to express about opinion and participating in public work, take out the electoral ticket, vote on elections and general referendums, join parties, general unions and syndicates and voluntary and civil work and defending human rights.. etc.
Of course, the enjoyment of citizenship will lead to a system of rights and duties based on four central values: The value of equality, the value of freedom, the value of participation and social responsibility, and these values also do not exist in the Egyptian society.
As for the forms and aspects of citizenship, there is a legal aspect:
This includes equality among citizens in rights and duties without discrimination on grounds of religion or race or color or sex .. Etc., this means the removal of all discriminatory aspects among laws, also citizens should resort to justice institutions with low charges and to provide standards of justice which are internationally approved in the work of these institutions.
As for the political aspect, it includes all citizen’s rights to share the determination of their community’s affairs through the general elections or local elections or the membership of civil society organizations, this requires the existence of societal context which encourages to public participation whether through educational institutions such as schools or civil society organizations and the removal of legal restrictions imposed on these organizations. The third and final aspect is the social aspect, this means the right of every citizen to access to an equal opportunity to develop the quality of life he lives in. This requires the availability of public services for citizens especially for the poor and vulnerable groups. As for the present status, we find that the three aspects are absent in the society.
In this regard, this is an invitation for passing a new law on the citizenship rights as a first starting point to translate the principle of citizenship provided in the first article of the constitution to legislations and laws, this law is set by all concerned and national specialists on the condition of forming a committee for citizenship in People’s Assembly including official representatives in media, education, endowments, security, representatives of the church and Al Azhar, political parties and civil society organizations. This committee undertakes the affairs of citizenship and to put a practical solutions to eliminate all sectarian problems which appear from time to time and any new problems appear between Muslims and Christians. We suggest for some articles of citizenship law to provide for ” all Egyptians deserve without any discrimination all the rights provided in international covenants and conventions for human rights, these rights constitute indispensable elements for the concept of citizenship, any Egyptian may not be deprived from these rights under any circumstances”.
Finally, citizenship is not only a legal provisions and articles which demonstrate a set of rights for members of a particular group, however it require an awareness of main rights and how to exercise it the matter which require to occupy oneself exclusively with the culture of citizenship. As well as the importance for clergies to renew the religion speech to disseminate the culture of tolerance among all citizens and to avoid the fanatic speeches and the necessary to respect all religions and to hold dialogue sessions between the two parties to find out the sectarian problems that appear from time to time to evaluate and admit mistakes, and the prohibition on attacking religions according to the provisions of human rights to keep the freedom of thought and belief guaranteed under the Egyptian Constitution and international covenants on human rights ratified by the Egyptian government and became an integral part of the domestic law in accordance with Article 151 of the Constitution.
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