Egypt to follow-up on Human Rights recommendations

24/02/2010
Press release

At the occasion of Egypt’s Universal Periodic Review by the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) expresses its satisfaction with regard to the number of important recommendations addressed to the Egyptian delegation by members of the Human Rights Council. Most of these recommendations meet those expressed by FIDH and its local partners in the information they submitted to the UN and made public prior to the review. FIDH welcomes the fact that the Government of Egypt accepted the majority of these recommendations.

FIDH also welcomes the solemn commitment taken by the Head of the Egyptian delegation, Mr. Mufid Shihab, to amend the definition of torture in order to conform it to international standards. However, we firmly regret that the Egyptian delegation remained absolutely silent on many concerns raised during the review.

FIDH also regrets that certain significant recommendations were rejected by Egypt as «inaccurate or factually incorrect». These recommendations were especially related to important human rights issues raised notably by FIDH and its partners in Egypt, such as the limitations imposed on the activities of human rights defenders and NGOs, the arrests and detentions of political activists, the harassment of lawyers and journalists and the Emergency Law depicted as “the root cause to many human rights problems”. Other recommendations were rejected without further justification from Egypt, in particular when they pertained to non-discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation.

FIDH does not share the assessment of Egypt regarding 35 recommendations supposedly “already implemented or in the process of implementation”. In particular, we believe that the State of Emergency as it is currently applied, and the draft of the new counter-terrorism law constitute challenges to international human rights standards. By the same token, freedom of religion and equality in rights for women and men cannot be considered as fully guaranteed in Egypt today.

Therefore, FIDH encourages the Government of Egypt to pursue the dialogue with HRC members with regards to the recommendations at stake in view of accepting or rewording them.

FIDH calls upon the Egyptian authorities to provide immediately a clear time-frame for the implementation of the recommendations and engage in a greater cooperation with CSO in view of establishing a follow-up mechanism.

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