EOHR publishes a report entitled “The Universal Periodic Review is an opportunity to implement the international obligations of Egypt”

July 11th, 2019 by Editor

EOHR publishes a report entitled “The Universal Periodic Review is an opportunity to implement the international obligations of Egypt”

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) issued on Thursday, 11/7/2019 a report entitled “Periodic Review Report is an opportunity to implement Egypt’s international obligations”

Egypt’s periodic report on November 13, 2019 is discussed before the International Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Committee discusses the comprehensive periodic report submitted by the Egyptian government and reports submitted by the National Council for Human Rights and international and local NGOs. In this regard, the extent of the Egyptian government’s commitment to implement the recommendations it has already accepted in 2014 is reviewed.
EOHR confirmed that the Universal Periodic Review mechanism is developed by the International Human Rights Council in order to assess the human rights situation in all UN Member States on an equal and non-selective basis.

This mechanism is unique because it imposes obligations on States before the International Council for Human Rights and the international community, this is why states are implementing these obligations in order not to be blamed by the international community.
Additionally, the organization pointed out that the report seeks to address Egypt’s universal periodic review mechanism at the International Council for Human Rights, highlighting the recommendations and observations made on Egypt’s report, which reached 300 recommendations, and Egypt’s commitment to implementing the International Human Rights Council’s obligations in this regard.
The Egyptian Organization stated that it had asked the President in an official letter to amend some international laws and regulations to be in line with the relevant international human rights instruments, including:

1. Amend the Penal Code in particular, articles 26 and 126 in order to comply with the international legal definition of torture that was defined in the Convention against Torture, which Egypt has already ratified, thus it is taking the force of law in accordance with the Egyptian Constitution.

2. Amend Law no 84 on NGOs and replace it with a new law that meets international standards for the freedom of civil society in accordance with international human rights law. However, what happened was the reverse. A new law was issued that restricts the freedom of civil society and its ability to work. It was enacted in 2017 but did not achieve the purpose of amending the law by guaranteeing the right to assembly and organize.
3. Amend the Penal Code in order to guarantee freedom of opinion and expression in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of 2014.
4. Amend the law of protest in order to comply with Article 73 of the Constitution and with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The organization notes that even after the amendments made by the Supreme Constitutional Court to the law, the law is still unable to provide the right to protest peacefully which was guaranteed constitutionally.
5. Issue an anti-terrorism law compatible with human rights. The state has already passed the law, but in its current form is not in line with the nature of the recommendations and constitutes a real threat to freedoms, which is a cornerstone of human rights.

Furthermore, the organization confirmed in its report that it recommended alternative measures for pre-trial detention in accordance with the Egyptian constitution and human rights charters and instruments. It is known that “the accused is innocent until proven guilty” in a fair trial and in normal circumstances. Moreover, article 54 of the Egyptian Constitution stipulates that Personal freedom is a natural right which is safeguarded and cannot be infringed upon. Except in cases of in flagrante delicto, citizens may only be apprehended, searched, arrested, or have their freedoms restricted by a causal judicial warrant necessitated by an investigation. All those whose freedoms have been restricted shall be immediately informed of the causes therefor, notified of their rights in writing, be allowed to immediately contact their family and lawyer, and be brought before the investigating authority within twenty-four hours of their freedoms having been restricted. Questioning of the person may only begin once his lawyer is present. If he has no lawyer, a lawyer will be appointed for him. Those with disabilities shall be provided all necessary aid, according to procedures stipulated in the law. Those who have their freedom restricted and others possess the right of recourse before the judiciary. Judgment must be rendered within a week from such recourse, otherwise the petitioner shall be immediately released.
The law shall regulate preventive detention, its duration, causes, and which cases are eligible for compensation that the state shall discharge for preventative detention or for execution of a penalty that had been executed by virtue of a judgment that is overruled by a final judgment. In all cases, the accused may be brought to criminal trial for crimes that he may be detained for only in the presence of an authorized or appointed lawyer.
In its report, the organization called for the reform of prisons and places of detention to meet the minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners and detainees.

 The report also pointed out that Egypt is exposed to serious threats from terrorist operations, and terrorist organizations. This is what prompted the President of the Republic to issue a decree no. 94 of 2015 on the fight against terrorism. However, the legislation should have been regulated in accordance with the Constitution and the international instruments on the criteria of legality of crimes, penalties and procedural legality to ensure that the suspect is not convicted innocently under this law. The legislation was constitutionalized in the second paragraph of Article VI, and the constitutional court has already ruled unconstitutional, in addition to that some of the articles came in loose phrases that are not drafted, contrary to the legal principles for the formulation of punitive texts.
In addition, the definition of terrorism in article 2 of the act also contravenes with the definition of the crime of terrorism issued by the UN Special Rapporteur on combating terrorism and Human Rights, adopted by the Security Council.
The report also pointed out that the efforts of the government did not stop at this solution, as the President issued a resolution no. 355 of 2017 to establish the National Council to combat terrorism. Egypt’s efforts have also expanded internationally, as the Egyptian mission to the United Nations in New York succeeded in adopting a resolution unanimously in the Security Council on 25 May 2017. This resolution aimed to welcome the implementation of the comprehensive international Framework for combating the Terrorist discourse and its implementation, resolution no 2354.

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