Friday, February 26, 2010

Egypt Condemned For Its Lacks of Freedoms

Morris Sadek
25 February 2010 in Featured Blogumnist, Morris Sadek
Egypt came under review Wednesday, Feb, 17, 2010, for the first time at the United Nations Human Rights Council for its rights record.

Western countries criticized the emergency laws in effect in the North African country since 1981, along with related restrictions on freedom of press, expression and unions and the imprisoning of journalists and bloggers. The accusations included the death penalty, torture and illegal detentions and the use of violence against religious minorities.

Human Rights Watch had called on Egypt to

* repeal the emergency laws

* lift its longstanding abusive emergency regulations

* hold security forces accountable for serious human rights abuses such as arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention

* end systematic torture and unfair trials before state security courts

* halt its systematic arrest and harassment of peaceful political activists, as well as bloggers and journalists

* halt the policy of using lethal force to stop African migrants and asylum seekers from crossing the Sinai border into Israel

The government has never confirmed the number of those arbitrarily detained under emergency law orders issued by the interior minister, but Egyptian human rights organizations estimate that between 5,000 and 10,000 people are held without charge. Security officers arrested a group of bloggers and political activists who had traveled to the southern town of Nag Hammadi to pay their condolences to the families of 6 Christians shot and killed on Coptic Christmas Eve.

Egypt continues the reliance on state security courts, whose proceedings do not meet international fair trial standards manifested in several kinds of tortures, allegations, no access to lawyers and do not allow for appeal, is also of major concern.

The United States and several European countries called on the administration of President Hosni Mubarak to:

* ensure civil liberties in the run-up to parliamentary elections later this year and a presidential poll in 2011

* end the state of emergency that has been in force since his predecessor was assassinated in 1981 and which Egyptian critics argue is used to suppress dissent.

* replace the emergency law by counter-terrorism legislation.

* reform its penal code to include an internationally accepted definition of torture

We add to demands and agree with the recommendations of the Western countries which are to:

* Put an end to the state of emergency.

* Adopt a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to abolishing it.

* Investigate allegations of torture.

* Take further steps to fight violence against women and prosecute abusers.

* Eradicate female genital mutilations.

* Pass comprehensive anti-trafficking in person legislation.

* Prosecute those involved in incitement to religious hatred and violence.

* Put to trail all those involved the persecution and killings of the Copts and the Bahais.

* Investigate human rights abuses against human rights defenders and lawyers.

* Put to halt the torture of all Coptic captives being jailed after the Nag Hammadi’s incident and set them free.

* A fair trial to the innocent Guirguis Baroumi Guirguis in Qena Criminal Court since his last sitting was not fair.

* Eliminate all legal provisions and policies discriminating on a religious basis.

* Stop the abuse of the Copts rights, respect their rights and stop the systematic discrimination practiced against them.

* Take resolute steps to guarantee an open and free press, including on Internet.

* Amend legislation which inhibits NGOs’ activities and ability to raise finance.

* Establish an independent Electoral Commission.

* Reply favorably to the request of visit of the Special Rapporteur on Torture.

* Ratify the Rome Statute, and the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention against Torture.

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