Speach of Hafez abuseada president of EOHR about Enforced disapearance in side event in the Human rights council in Geneva

September 29th, 2016 by Editor

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Speach of Hafez abuseada president of EOHR about Enforced disapearance in side event in the Human rights council in Geneva

Enforced disappearance is one of the most gross of human rights violations, and is prohibited under international human rights law, and in the legal systems of most democratic nations. Unfortunatley this unhealthy phenomena exists in Egypt, and a considerable number of individuals have fallen victim to it. The Egyptian Organization for human rights has always maintaned a very strong postition against this transgression and has worked thouroughly over the years to publicize its existance and help in eliminating it.

 

Egypt faces several challenges when it comes to the prevention of the crime of enforced disappearace. Among them is the absence of an explicit legal text prohibiting the practice even though the Egyptian constitution gurantees the right to life, one of the core principles of human rights that this phenomena threatens directly. Another hurlde that impedes prevention is the lack of a serious legal penalty on law enforcement officials who unlawfuly detain individuals whether under false pretexts or without judicial authorization as required by Egyptian law.

 

EOHR has exerted termendous efforts to reveal and document cases of enforced disappearances, and has worked on that particualar issue since the 1990s. In the period between Mid 2015 and early 2016 EOHR has documented 108 cases of enforced disappearances across the country more than half of them have taken place in the Greater Cairo metropolitan area. The National Council for human rights in which I am a member has also documented multiple cases of enforced disappearances in the period between April 2015 to March 2016, with figure being as high as 266 cases which is an alarming situation to say the least.

 

EOHR in its own capacity and through coordination with the National council for human rights and the ministry of interior affairs has succeeded in documenting most cases of enforced disappearances and the Egyptian government does respond to our efforts, and revealed the places of detention of many of the disappeared and allowed them accsess to an attorney and began treating them as oridinary defendants in a given legal case, while others have been released.

 

Here we have to make a very important point, and that is some civil society organizations tend to exagerate the phenomena of enforced disappearances clearly for political gains through issuing false figures that are in their thousands without presenting any substantial evidence to support this claim, which has become troubling in a sense as now it is hard for both the government and human rights defenders to deal with the issue in the midst of a flood of inaccurate and false information that only serves to create an atmosphere of distrust between civil society and the Egyptian state.

 

In conclusion EOHR has several recommendations it wishes to present once more as it has done before in its report.

1-     Recommendations to the Legislative Authority:

  • Enacting a new bill on prohibiting the enforced disappearance and imposes stiffer penalties for offenders who contributed or incited this crime.
  • The inclusion of an additional rule in the penal code to increase the penalties for any public Service employee contributed or will contribute by any legal mean to the enforced disappearance or hiding any information that could hinder the investigations conducting by the administrative entities concerned with receiving the complaints on enforced disappearance.
  • Extending the Parliament’s authority into the security services and establishing an internal committee consisted from the parliament members to observe the level of legal commitment of the security services personnel according to the Egyptian laws and constitution.
  • Granting the entities and authorities concerned with the investigations on the cases of enforced disappearance the needed capabilities and authority to finish their investigations as soon as possible.

2-     Recommendation to the attorney general:

  • Listing the names of the detainees and the date of their detention along with their locations and the date of release-if Available- in a special record to be drafted in the technical office of the prisoners’ affairs provided that access to this information should be free and keeping copies of those records to be available upon submitting an official request without fees.
  • Expeditious consideration of the cases and complaints of the enforced disappearance submitted to the attorney general and other prosecutions and the quick official written reply on those complaints to be provided including the investigations outcomes and to specify a period of time for this reply.
  •  Ensure the assignment of adequate number of prosecutors to move immediately to the place of the enforced detention in case of receiving an official report from the detainee’s family.

3-     Recommendation to the Ministry of Interior:

  • Transmission of the complaints on the enforced disappearances to the inspectorate. And the latter should be obliged to submit the investigations results to the detainees’ families for a period up to 30 days.
  • The Ministry of interior should be obliged to send the detainee to the specialized session on investigating the grievances against the custody’s decision provided that the Ministry of interior should inform the location of the detainee and the date of release if Available according to the records of the Department of Prisons’ services and to be signed by the warden and the Commissioner of Prisons.
  • The ministry is obliged to give access to the detainees’ families to the information of the location and the charge that resulted in the custody of their detainee.
  • The referral of the police officers allegedly involved in arresting or hiding any person with no legal right to the disciplinary court regardless the investigative findings.

EOHR heavily stress on the following two recommendations:

  •  To allow human rights and civil society organizations to verify the condition of human rights in the prisons and to observe the process of law enforcement and the detainees’ complaints.
  •  no person may be arrested, detained in any district or police station without listing detainee’s name, address, place of detention and causes of detention and the name of the authorized police officer who arrested this detainee in the police station’s record and the warden shall be responsible for any case of enforced disappearance take place in his district and shall be responsible to provide the information mentioned-above such as the name of detainee and the place of detention and so on.

 

Thank you

 

 

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