BUE Students Visit to EOHR

April 15th, 2013 by Editor

On April 14, 2013, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) has received a delegation from the Political Science Club at the British University in Egypt. The delegation included 17 students headed by Dr.Hisham Wahby.

Within a-2-hour-lecture, Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, the head of EOHR, provided the delegation with an idea about the foundation, mission and activities of EOHR. He briefly explained that one of the oldest non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Egypt. EOHR was founded in 1985 in Cairo, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the other international covenants of human rights. The organization observes and monitors the situation of the human rights in Egypt and defends people’s rights regardless the identity, gender or color of the victim. EOHR faces any human rights violations made either by governmental or non-governmental parties. The organization also is aimed at raising the popular awareness of the human rights principals and calls for reviewing all the local laws that do not comply with the international covenants of human rights.

He also added that EOHR has been granted special consultative status of the UN Economic and Social Council in 2006. This consultative status enables EOHR to enjoy closer interaction with the United Nations by participating in the activities of the International Council for Human Rights, according to ECOSOC decision 31/1996. This decision aimed to reinforce the principles of the human rights stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and all other international human rights documents. EOHR is also a member of five international organizations: the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR), L’Organization Mondiale Contre La Torture (OMCT), Federation International Des Droits De L’Homme (FIDH), the International Commission for Jurists (ICJ), and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX).

He mentioned that the organization aims to achieve a number of objectives:

          Reinforcement of the human rights principals according to  the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

          Emphasizing the principals of the rule of law and the independence of the Egyptian judiciary

          Amendment of the Egyptian laws to comply with the international covenants signed by Egypt

          Guarantying fair trial for all and cancellation of all the aspects of exceptional trials

          Support of the democratic transformation and reinforcement of the right of political participation

          Reinforcement of the women’s rights and raising awareness of their issues

 EOHR uses the peaceful and legal ways for defending the human rights and facing violations:

          Monitoring, observing and documenting the human rights violation and informing the official bodies about the violation incidents

          Issuing press releases on the human rights violations

          Providing legal support for the human rights’ violation victims

           Holding open discussions on the Egyptian laws in order to comply with the international covenants of human rights

          Launching specific and specialized campaigns for raising awareness of the human rights issues

          Providing training for media and legal specialists on the human rights principals

          Holding training workshops for EOHR members and others for raising awareness of human rights

          Preparing researches on the human rights issues

          Holding an annual meeting for discussing human rights’ issues

 

Following the introduction that covered mainly the profile of EOHR, Mr. Hafez discussed the situation of human rights in Egypt before and after the revolution:

The economical and political rights were seriously violated after the Egyptian revolution. No one expected oppressing the peaceful protesters in Mohamed Mahmoud Street and Etihadia Presidential Palace; torture in police stations, prisons and detention centers continues.

The economical situation of the wide range of Egyptians is not that better than before the Egyptian liberal revolution. The hard currencies’ reserves decay. The revenues of tourism and taxation went down. Many projects stopped. Foreign businesses were closed because of the security vacuum. 

Following the revolution, many legislative problems emerged. The newly drafted Egyptian constitution mentioned the idiom “Human Rights” only within the preamble. It has not taken the international standards of human rights as references. It has also ignored mentioning many important issues like human trafficking. The first Egyptian constitution after the revolution gave the Egyptian president unexpected broad powers including appointing members of the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court and heads of the national monitoring bodies in addition to placing the state’s strategy without being brought to accountability.  

The legislative problems after the revolution also included discussing and endorsing many draft laws restricting freedom of expression, assembly, demonstration, strike, association, political participation and access to public information etc. the draft law for civil society organizations for instance imposes various restrictions regarding registration, accreditation and finance of local and international civil society organizations.

Finally, Mr. Hafez talked briefly on the situation of the Egyptian women’s rights after the Egyptian revolution. He mentioned that women in Egypt after the revolution lost many of the benefits, which they gained during Mubarak era. He also talked about the increasing rate of the systematic sexual harassment in Egypt. He said that sexual harassment is not criminalized within the Egyptian penal code; only the idiom “indecent Assault”. This means that touching girls’ hands or cheeks is not criminalized. He also called upon the Egyptian government to adopt the international definitions in this regard such as “sexual and gender-based violence.”    

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