EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - Egypt: Interview with Hafez Abu Saeda, Chairman of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, FIDH Permanent Representative to the League of Arab States.

03/02/2011
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Egypt: Interview with Hafez Abu Saeda, Chairman of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, FIDH Permanent Representative to the League of Arab States.

« Yes. We can expect a Tunisian scenario! »

Mr. Hafez Abu Saeda, according to you, what are the motivations of the upsurge of the Egyptian people?

The Egyptian people want the liberation of Egypt from the gang that has been ruling this country. They want it to be a democratic country. Enough of Mubarak, enough of the regime, they want a new regime. We need to establish a democratic State that respects Human Rights. We want the people who violate the rights of individuals to be tried. Since the start of the demonstrations against Mubarak and against the regime, 300 people have been killed and over 2,000 have been injured. Now this is the moment for freedom, for democracy and respect for Human Rights.

Can you expect a Tunisian scenario?

Yes. I think we are going for a change in the regime itself. What is happening in my country is quite like what has happened in Tunisia. We have brokeraged the way to a change of regime. We can’t be sure that President Mubarak will leave the country like Ben Ali. But now the President of the regime has recognised that the last parliamentary elections [the second round of elections was held on December 5, 2010] were not free and fair elections. The last elections were forged (rigged) elections. Now the new Vice-President, Mr. Omar Souleiman is holding discussions with the opposition for political reform and constitutional reform and accepting the amendment of Articles 76 and 27 of the Constitution to change conditions for standing as candidate in the presidential elections and for the presidential mandates to be for two terms only. The people still call for Mubarak to step out and leave the country, for a new era and for democracy and the main demand now is to establish a National Assembly for a clear and new constitution and a new regime for Egypt.

Do you fear further repression of demonstrations, in particular next Friday?

Unfortunately yes. With what we have seen today [Wednesday February 2, 2011] I think they will use violence again next Friday, which is what we are worrying about. Today they tried to intimidate and pressure demonstrators in Tharir Square to prevent them from demonstrating peacefully. At the same time people are insisting on continuing their revolution until they reach their goals and end their mission. Their mission is a new country, a new regime a new state that believes in democracy, that believes in human rights.

Some States now seem to turn away from the Mubarak regime, but what do you think about the silence of the African Union and the League of Arab States on the events in Egypt?

This is one of the issues that Egypt suffers from. For a long time the regime of President Mubarak has been supported from outside by African and Arab regimes and from some international States such as the USA and some European countries. All the people who consider the Egyptian people to be a friendly people must support Egyptian demands and not take a stand for the Egyptian regime. In a few days or in a few weeks, when the Egyptian regime is out, when the Egyptian people are in power, you must support the Egyptians, not take the stand of the Egyptian regime. FIDH has been trying for many long years to get them to open their eyes to the reality of the regime. Now we hear very clearly the voices of the people, the demands of the people of Egypt to be independent, their liberation, their freedom, their rights to choose their President, to choose their members of Parliament and to establish a democratic State.

Can we imagine a shock-wave of the Tunisian revolution beyond Egypt?

The Tunisian revolution was an example for the Egyptian people. Now it is the Egyptians who are also trying to show history that it is possible to set themselves free from a dictatorship.

What would be the consequences of the fall of President Mubarak on the Israel-Palestine peace process?

The Egyptians are in favour of a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. We are supporting the rights of the They are calling for an end to aggression against the Palestinian people. They want the international community to double its efforts in negotiating to achieve the establishment of the two states, so the Palestinian State that can live side by side with the State of Israel. The people must be able to live side by side in peace and security in democratic States.

Interview led by Hugo Gabbero.

To listen to the interview, please click here: http://blog.gardonslesyeuxouverts.org/

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