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Last Update: 19 Hour and 37 Minute ago
News code: 28235
Published Date: Tuesday 17 September 2019 - 15:29:38

HR groups to UN: Address Egypt’s assault on rights

HR groups to UN: Address Egypt’s assault on rights
World  - he United Nations Human Rights Council should use the upcoming review of Egypt’s human rights records to address unprecedented levels of repression, 18 organizations including Human Rights Watch said today in an open letter to the council’s member countries.

The organizations made a series of recommendations concerning the death penalty, torture, violence against women and girls, detention of activists and rights defenders, and a crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly, among other human rights violations.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process which involves the review of the human rights records of all UN Member States on rotating basis every four years. Egypt's upcoming UPR will be held on November 13.The full text of letter follows:

Your Excellency,

The next Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Egypt's human rights record is scheduled for 13 November 2019, under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. We are writing to strongly urge your government to use this occasion to address the ongoing human rights crisis in Egypt.

Since the last review of Egypt's record in 2014, human rights violations have increased sharply and the undersigned organisations and our partners have documented unprecedented levels of repression against human rights organisations and human rights defenders. The UPR is an opportunity for States to contribute to reversing these trends and promoting respect for human rights in Egypt.

We urge your government to take part in the UPR process and to make concrete recommendations to the Egyptian authorities to urgently address the following issues:

Establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to abolishing it. Review the penal code, code of criminal procedure, military code; the Law on Counter-Terrorism (Law 94/2015), and the Law on Terrorist Entities (8/2015), in line with minimum fair trial guarantees and ensure that civilians are not referred to exceptional or military courts on any grounds; and respect the principle of individual criminal responsibility by putting an end to the use of mass trials.
End the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including incommunicado detention and prolonged solitary confinement. Allow detainees requiring urgent medical attention to be transferred to appropriate medical facilities and give them prompt and regular access to their legal representatives and families. Investigate allegations of torture, enforced disappearance and ill-treatment. To ensure accountability, the authorities should allow independent, unrestricted and unannounced visits to all places of detention; adopt a comprehensive anti-torture law in line with the 2014 Constitution and the United Nations Convention against Torture.
Amend, adopt and effectively implement legislation to eliminate all forms of discrimination and criminalise all forms of violence against women and girls, including by amending the Personal Status Law and introducing legal provisions prohibiting domestic violence, including marital rape, as well as sexual harassment, assaults and rape. Further, the authorities should effectively carry out the National Strategy to Combat Violence Against Women in partnership with independent civil society organisations with recognised expertise in the field.
Immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders, civil society activists and all those detained or imprisoned solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, including lawyers, journalists, labour rights activists, minority rights activists, and LGBTQI activists. Put a stop to excessive police probation measures and the use of prolonged pre-trial detention to punish dissenters, close Case 173/2011 against Egyptian NGOs and lift arbitrary travel bans on human rights defenders.
Protect freedom of expression, association and assembly by immediately repealing or amending, in compliance with the 2014 Constitution and international standards, the deeply restrictive Protest Law (Law 107/2013) to allow gatherings by notifying the authorities in advance and to limit the use of force by security forces, the Assembly law (Law 10/1914), the Media Law (Law 180/2018), the Cyber-Crime Law (Law 175/2018), and the Law of Associations and Other Foundations Working in the Field of Civil Work (Law 149/2019). Stop closing down human rights organisations by administrative orders. Stop blocking internet sites, especially websites belonging to human rights organisations and news websites.
Allow, humanitarian aid organisations, independent observers and journalists access to North Sinai and investigate all abuses by the militant groups and government forces. Compensate all residents whose houses were demolished, cease home demolitions until further consultations with local communities and make sure that displaced populations are offered adequate humanitarian aid and support for temporary housing.
Support requests by UN treaty bodies and special procedures to carry out official missions to Egypt and ensure that no one is subjected to reprisals, such as arbitrary arrest or intimidation, for cooperating with the UN human rights mechanisms.
We urge your government to keep a close watch on the human rights situation in Egypt after the outcome of the review has been adopted. This can be done, for instance, by requesting an update one year down the line. Most of the recommendations Egypt accepted during the previous UPR review have not been carried out. This highlights the need to follow up on the UPR recommendations and the importance of this UPR in reiterating to Egypt that its disregard of human rights remains unacceptable.

Finally, as to ensure that this UPR is a forum for effective engagement on Egypt's human rights record, Egypt should lift the arbitrary travel bans imposed on human rights defenders, so that they can participate freely in the UPR in Geneva, and to do so without fear of reprisals.

With assurances of our highest consideration,

Amnesty International

Andalus Institute for Tolerance and anti-Violence Studies

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies


Committee to Protect Journalists

DIGNITY - Danish Institute Against Torture

EuroMed Rights

Front Line Defenders

Human Rights Watch

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

International Service for Human Rights

Ligue des droits de l'Homme

People in Need

Reporters Without Borders


International Commission of Jurists

The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP)

World Organisation Against Torture


News Code: 28235
Published Date: Tuesday 17 September 2019 - 15:29:38
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