February 23rd, 2010 by Editor
EOHR calls on the government for a timetable and mechanisms for implementation
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights called on the Egyptian government for interacting seriously with the recommendations issued by UN Human Rights Council on the occasion of the Universal Periodic Review of the governmental report.
EOHR confirmed the need for the Egyptian government to accept the recommendations relevant to lifting the state of emergency, abolishing the death penalty, amending the NGO law No. 84 of 2002, allowing national and international elections observation in all upcoming elections, inviting the Special Rapporteurs to visit Egypt. EOHR called on the government to set a specific timetable, mechanisms and an action plan for implementing the UPR recommendations.
Hafez Abu Seada, chairman of EOHR, confirmed that the majority of recommendations accepted by the Egyptian government were related to economic and social rights, women and children, and most of the recommendations relating to the emergency law or torture that were accepted by the government were general recommendations that lacked specific mechanisms or action plan for the implementation.
Abu Seada added that the total recommendations made by Human Rights Council reached 165 recommendations as the government agreed to accept 119 recommendations as follows:
21 recommendations on women and children, 19 recommendations on economic and social rights, 11 recommendations on spreading and teaching the culture of human rights, 7 recommendations on the revision of the legislative structure to cope with the international covenants on human rights and the withdraw of Egypt’s reservations to other international conventions, and other recommendations on freedom of religion and belief ,freedom of opinion and expression, trafficking in persons , death penalty and rights of persons with disabilities , refugees, torture , terrorism ,emergency and NGOs.
Abu Seada confirmed that most of recommendations approved by the government are quite general with unspecific formulations and didn’t impose commitments on Egypt, particularly with issues such as torture ,emergency and terrorism as follows :
With regard to torture:
– Reinforce the fight against torture(Switzerland).
– Allegations of torture be effectively and independently investigated (Switzerland).
– Increase efforts to ensure that the competent authorities , in particular the public prosecutor investigate all torture allegations promptly and to bring any officials found responsible to justice (Austria).
– Expedite the reform of the Criminal Code in order to include a definition of torture in accordance with the Convention Against Torture. (France).
As for emergency:
– Put an end to the state of emergency and ensure that the provisions the future anti-terrorism law will respect human rights. (France)
– Lift the state of emergency that has been in effect since 1981 and replace the emergency law with anti-terrorism law, which guarantees civil liberties. (United States)
– Put an end to the state of emergency as soon as possible. (Austria)
With regard to terrorism:
– Speed up the adoption of anti-terrorism law, while considering lifting the state of emergency once the law has been passed. (Sudan)
– Continue the national efforts towards the early finalization of anti-terrorism law which can serve to combat terrorism while ensuring promotion and protection of human rights. (Pakistan)
EOHR confirms that the government’s approval on adopting these recommendations is a sign of hope, however the human rights file in Egypt requires serious work and to interact with the recommendations of UN Human Rights Council as an indivisible solution, EOHR calls on the government to:
– Accept the 25 recommendations postponed until June 2010 .
– Reconsider the recommendations rejected by the government especially the following :
1 – Torture
– Adhere to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (France).
– Invite the Special Rapporteur on torture without delay and facilitate his visit to Egypt (Netherlands).
– Reform article 129 and 126 of the Penal Code regarding the crime of torture in order to broaden the scope of punishable conduct and prevent impunity for perpetrators. (Spain).
– Amending Article 126 of the Penal Code to bring into line with the Convention against Torture (Ireland).
– Accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other cruel , inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.. (Czech Republic).
– To ensure that the crime of torture is punished in accordance with the comprehensive definition as stated in Article 1 of the International Convention against Torture. (Germany).
– Consider ratifying the Rome Statute and the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and other cruel , in human or degrading treatment or punishment and to the Convention on the Rights of persons with disabilities. (Brazil)
– Ratify the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment, and the Rome Statute. (Chile)
2 – Emergency
– End the exceptional state of emergency and lift the emergency law and abstain from legislations that introduce measures of emergency law into the constitution (Germany).
– Not to renew the emergency law in April 2010, and ensure that future legislation fully respects Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law and not entrench under statute law provisions that facilitate human rights violations. (Canada).
– That the emergency legislation under the state of emergency which is the root cause to many problems in Egypt , be repealed, and that future legislation be elaborated based on the enjoyment of all rights (Sweden).
3 – Dealing with the mechanisms of international human rights:
– Allow the visits of human rights special procedures that are pending to take place in a timely manner and consider issuing a standing invitation to the human rights special procedures. (Czech Republic).
– Respond positively to the repeated requests for a visit by the special Rappoteurs on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; on the independence of judges and lawyers; on the situation of human rights defenders, on freedom of religion and belief; on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution; on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; and by the working group on arbitrary detention ( Spain).
– Extend an early invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (Ireland).
– Reply favorably to the request by the UN Special Rapporteur against torture for a visit and extend its full support to such a mission. (Sweden).
– Issue an open and standing invitation to all special procedures ( Spain).
-Issue an open and standing invitation to all special procedures, particularly to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment (Belgium).
– Allow the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism free access to detention centers and communication with prisoners during his next visit (Spain).
– Ratify individual complaint mechanisms of UN treaty bodies (Austria ).
4 – Law of NGOs
– Amend articles 11, 17 42, of the current NGOs law No. 84 of 2002, to ensure that NGOs activities and activities of all human rights defenders not be inhibited and their ability to raise finance be impeded .
– Pass legislation that allows NGOs to accept foreign funding without prior government approval, legislation that allows for increased freedom of association and assembly and legislation allowing labour unions to operate without joining the Egyptian trade union federation (United States).
5 – Monitoring elections
– Invite independent national and international election monitoring teams to the upcoming elections( Austria).
6 – Abolition of the death penalty
– To engage towards the abolition of the death penalty by adopting a moratorium, commuting all sentences already pronounced and by reducing the number of offences punishable by this penalty ( France).
– Abolition of the death penalty by adopting a stop this activity, and modify both sentences, and try to limit the number of crimes that deserve the death penalty (France).
– Take the decision to suspend the activity as a first step on all death sentences, and completely elimination it (Switzerland).
– Consider the application of the death penalty to abolish it completely in the near future (Greece).
7 – Withdraw reservations to the Convention on Discrimination
– Withdraw all reservations to Articles 2, 16 of the Covenant for the elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (France).
– Withdraw all reservations to the Covenant for the elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (Ireland)
Abu Seada expressed his hope that the government adheres seriously to the approved recommendations before the UN Human Rights Council by setting a timetable and a specific strategy to deal with the main files (Emergency, Torture, laws that impede the rights and freedoms, the interaction with the mechanisms of international human rights and receive special Rapporteurs in Egypt, and the revision of the legislative structure and bring it into line with international standards, etc. ..), and to initiate a dialogue on these files with civil society organizations before the 14th session which will be held in June 2010 in Geneva, in order to improve the situation of human rights in Egypt.
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