In view of the EU-Egypt Association Council to be held on the 27th of April 2009 and on the eve of the 2009 ENP Action plan’s release, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) releases a note on the situation of human rights in Egypt.

FIDH is particularly concerned by the existing gap between the official commitments taken by the Egyptian Government in the ENP Action plan and the lack of concrete improvements on the ground. The Egyptian government has not demonstrated its political will to implement jointly agreed priorities. FIDH calls upon the EU to echo its deep concern about the deterioration of the human rights situation in Egypt since the adoption of the ENP action plan in March 2007.

While the constitutional framework in Egypt allows the exercise of fundamental freedoms, in practice, with the maintenance of the state of emergency, it has remained rather restrictive. The recent draft law on anti-terrorism due to replace the emergency legislation will replicate the abusive provisions of the emergency legislation. The Government has been using the state of emergency and anti-terrorism policies to harass peaceful opposition, civil society and restrict freedom of expression.

Torture and other ill-treatments are systematic in places of detention in Egypt, including police stations, premises run by SSI services (State Security Investigation) and prisons and perpetrators are rarely brought to justice. Arbitrary arrests followed by incommunicado and secret detention are a persistent feature linked to the state of emergency and anti terrorism laws.

The Egyptian government has also multiplied restrictive measures on freedom of association. Many NGOs and particularly rights groups have been facing systematic security intervention in their activities and internal affairs.

Lastly, the continuous harassment of private media was once again demonstrated through the consecutive indictment of tens of journalists and the ongoing prosecution of others for publications offences.

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