At the end of a seminar entitled “What’s after Geneva”Forming a national committee to follow up the Government’s implementation of the recommendations of UN Human Rights Council.

March 31st, 2010 by Editor

At the end of a seminar entitled” What’s after Geneva” which was held by EOHR at Pyramiza hotel on Tuesday

30/3/2010, a number of representatives of political parties, members of the parliament, editors in chief of newspapers, human rights activists, trade unionists called  the government for the immediate implementation of the recommendations approved by UN Human Rights Council within the framework of the Universal Periodic Review of human rights for the file of Egypt on the status of human rights,  stressing the importance of the government to set a timetable and specific mechanisms for the implementation of those recommendations, calling for the government at the same time  to accept the 25 recommendations which were postponed for consideration until next of June (25 recommendations) and to review the imposed recommendations, which  related to essential files such as (emergency, torture and  going to meet Special Rapporteurs).

 

Participants declared the establishment of a national committee to follow up  the government’s response to the recommendations of Geneva, and the extent of any significant developments on those recommendations both at the level of legislation and laws or in terms of practices. The process of  following -up will extend  till the end of June 2010 the date of the next meeting of the Council.

  

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, chairman of EOHR, confirmed that  the government accepted the recommendations related to the economic rights, woman and child, however it ignored the recommendations related to the optional protocol for the Convention Against Torture, and to invite the Special Rapporteur in charge of the case of Torture without delay and to facilitate his visit to Egypt, to revise articles 129 and 126 of the Penal Code related to the crime of torture in order to expand the scope of sanctions against the perpetrators and prevent impunity, and to amend article 126 of the Penal Code in line with the Convention against Torture, and not to renew the emergency law in April 2010.

  

He added that the government didn’t determine a timetable and clear mechanisms to implement Geneva’s recommendations, calling upon  the government  to accept the recommendations of as a whole and to commit them seriously and to set a specific strategy to deal with core files such as (Emergency, Torture, laws that impede the rights and freedoms, and to deal with the mechanisms of international human rights, and receive special rapporteurs in Egypt  with determining a timetable  and the revision of the legislative structure to be in line with international conventions, etc. ..).

 
He called upon the  political and social forces to form a committee to follow up the Government’s implementation of the recommendations of Geneva, called the government at the same time for involving civil society organizations and the various national forces in a permanent dialogue and efficient mechanisms to implement those recommendations, in order to improve the human rights situation in the country, as Egypt is a leading country
in the region.

 

Abu Seada was surprised of the dealing of the  government  with  civil society organizations in  the current time, pointing out that  despite the role played by those organizations, the government issued a bill to assassinate the civil work in Egypt after one month of Geneva‘s discussions.

  

Abu Seada called the government for reconsidering this bill which constitute a grave restrictions on the activities of NGOs in general and on human rights institutions in particular, as it imposes restrictions on NGOs’ work such as establishment, administration, funds, and dissolving by administrative decision. Also The new bill banned the civil companies from work due to considering it as semi-NGOs, so to cut off the road in front of these semi-NGOs from being able to be converted to a real effective NGOs.

  

Ambassador. Mahmoud Karem, Secretary General of the National Council for Human Rights, clarified the extent of the importance of discussing the recommendations of Geneva, due to the fact that the UPR had taken place with the utmost transparency, and the national council for human rights has to declare its message. On the other hand, the government was a   representative of the Missions in Geneva and responded to some recommendations of the UN Council and rejected some of them as they are related to religion issues the message is not over, not yet completed, and we continue the process, stressing the importance of not neglecting any of these recommendations.    

  

Dr. Kamel  Al Sayed,  professor of political science at Cairo University, described the report submitted by the  Government to UN Human Rights  Council as “compositional” to indicate to the status of human rights,  ignoring a number of practices which were far from the essence of Human Rights, the report ignored talking about the last constitutional amendments which cancel the judiciary’s role on monitoring elections, he added that dealing with the international  human rights mechanisms is not represented just in submitting reports, but effective measures should be taken to promote human rights and to lift the state f emergency which has been imposed since 1981. He condemned the government’s ignorance for the complaints submitted by the National Council for  human rights,  he expressed his deepest worries on the anti- terrorism law and NGOs’ law. He called for canceling all laws which restrict rights and public freedoms.

  

Mr. Essam Sheha, member of Al Wafd party,  called for accepting all recommendations of UN Human Rights Council, lifting the state of emergency and to cancel the approach to pass laws for terrorism and he called for repealing  all laws restricting the rights and public freedoms, and to lift the state of emergency and to stand against some practices such as torture and to abolish all laws which restrict freedoms like NGOs’ laws and the law of trade unions and labor, and the revision of the legislative structure to be compatible with international conventions. Sheha confirmed that the only out let for the community crises is to form a coalition including parties and civil society organizations and the national council for human rights.

  

Mr. Hussein Abed El Raziq, ex. Secretary General for “El Tagamou” party said that the execution of Geneva recommendations needs the government to take many procedures as to declare an issue to conduct the  political rights on the basis of the unconditional proportional law, canceling the laws which are violating human rights for example; the illegal assembly law which existed from the first world war, reforming Articles No. 74,76,77,88 and canceling Articles No. 74, 179 and Article No. 3 of the Emergency law (which gave the military ruler an absolute rights), there are also other articles which are assuring the hegemony of the executive authority over other authorities.

 

 Mr. Ehab Kholy, head of  “El Ghad” political party, demanded that the national legislative construction shall be revised and to be redrafted to coincide with the international standards. Mr. Ehab said also that we don’t need what so called  the “Anti -terrorism law”, and that the Egyptian political parties are facing a great challenge in making the Egyptian president carries out his competencies through the cabinet by changing article no. 176 of the constitution. The words still for Mr. Ihab, he asked also for non-restricting the political activities inside the Egyptian universities, canceling “Hamayouni Line” and other laws concerning workers. Mr. Ehab said that an opened discussion shall be held between government, political parties and NGOs concerning the commitments of the government to the international council for human rights.

 

Mr.  Mohammed Anwar El Saddat the head of “Eladalaa Wa El Tanmia” political party(under construction), appealed to reforming the general political environment in Egypt, strengthen citizenship principle, prohibiting emergency law, promoting social and economic rights, emphasizing the role of the demonstrations and public protests in pressing and pushing the government to execute the recommendations which were stated at the international council of human rights.

 

Dr. Ahmed Abu Baraka, member of the Egyptian parliament called for the reformation of the Egyptian legislative construction to coincide with the international standards which were ratified by the Egyptian government, and became an integral part of it’s internal law according to article No. 151 of the Constitution.

 

 Mr. Ahmed assured that the Constitution is protecting these rights, however the legislative cover burns it down, as there is a legislative deviation and a serious contradictions inside the constitution, the evidence on this is that the Constitution of 1971 since the day it has been issued on, contains a chapter on rights and freedom but the laws confiscate these rights, as for example; political parties, NGOs, professional and labor syndicates law.

Mr.  Abu Baraka added that there is no change in the environment of human rights in Egypt, arresting campaigns are still taking place as well as the defects existing in the constitutional and legislative structure, so the political parties and NGOs shall interfere to grab these rights from the government.

 

Dr.  Gihad Ouda,  head of political science department at Helwan University and a member of the policies committee at “National Democratic Party “, said that ” We are living in a political system having the characteristics of an authoritative, democratic, and slightly opened political system, we are now in a phase of developing a pluralistic system as the process of reforming and change is an accumulative one, in the past the human rights organizations were not able to hold such gatherings, now there is a difference”.

 

Dr. Ouda added that the Egyptian political system witness a developing democracy through reforming the political and legislative structure aiming at promoting democracy, the gathering of human rights organizations is an evidence on the reforming process. Dr. Ouda pointed out to the promotion of the state to the democratic practice and the mechanism of political participation in the society, he said also that human rights is a subject related to the civil not political struggle, so we shall consider the governmental capabilities on discussing this issue.

 

Mrs. Farida El Nakkash, editor in chief for El Ahly newspaper assured that the recommendations issued from international council for human rights is a form of the globalization process, which cast  it’s shadow on the political arena since early nineties, yesterday was World Trade Organization’s recommendations, today UN council’s recommendations, and all this is working in one direction to lessen World Trade Organization’s role.

 

Mrs.  Farida said that the main mechanism for implementing Geneva recommendations is to enable and develop democracy, this enabling can’t be achieved unless a coordination between political parties, syndicates  and NGOs take place to pressure the government, at the same time the NGOs, political parties, syndicates and different civic organizations shall agree on the mechanism of the democratic work and on the advanced political agenda, this collective effort needs the expelling of the internal conflicts between different civic institutions to be able to overcome the trials of imposing certain political agenda on the society. Mrs. Farida added that Geneva recommendations could be the starting point for creating a democratic environment of work between political parties, as to form collective committees which are designed to pressure the government.

 

Mrs. Farida demanded that we shall get benefit from the amazing technological revolution in defending people’s rights, as there are now great spread for websites, blogs and protest movements, and that we can use all this technology in reaching to the people to widen the democratic work in Egypt.

  

Mrs. Rahma Refaat,  representative for “Center For Trade Unions And Workers Services” called upon the urgent execution for Geneva recommendations specially concerning the abolition of the state of emergency, the most demand which was requested by all Egyptian political forces since 1981 till now, also releasing people under arrest, forming an independent committee for monitoring elections, amending some articles concerning torturing in Penal and Criminal Procedures Code(126,129.280 of penal code and 63, 232 of criminal procedures code), and to take time concerning the decision of issuing the Anti Terrorist law as the Egyptian law already contains one (no. 97 for 1992).

 

Mrs. Rahma, the human right activist, focused on the importance of the activation of the 119 recommendations which were approved by the Egyptian government at the international council for human rights, demanding that political parties and NGOs shall enroll these recommendations on it’s political agenda to monitor it’s implementation by the government.

 

At the end of the seminar, a committee on monitoring the governmental implementation of the recommendations was formed out of the participants, it’s first meeting will be held in the third week of April.     

 

 

 

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