'Egypt rejects politicised reports on its human rights conditions,' says parliament committee

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 4 Nov 2019

The committee said it will hold a meeting with FM Sameh Shoukry to prepare a new strategy aimed at defending the country's human rights image

File photo: Egyptian parliament (Photo: Reuters)
File photo: Egyptian parliament (Photo: Reuters)

The Egyptian parliament's foreign relations committee said in a statement on Monday that Egypt has recently been the target of systematic campaigns to tarnish the country's image with respect to human rights.

"Egypt rejects these flawed and politicised campaigns, and also rejects any form of interference in its internal affairs," said the statement, alluding to two recent reports issued by the EU parliament and the London-based Amnesty International criticising the country's human rights conditions.

The committee said it has held extensive and detailed discussions on a new policy aimed at dealing with foreign partners, particularly the EU.

"This policy comes as some insist on violating the principles of cooperation and international relations," said the committee.

The committee's chairman Karim Darwish told reports following a discussion on Monday that parliament, and Egypt as a whole, rejects the policy of dictation and pressure, particularly in the area of human rights.

"Exerting pressure or issuing flawed reports in this respect is totally rejected, and dialogue, bilateral discussion, and multi-sided cooperation are the only ways to hold a discussion in this respect," said Darwish.

Darwish revealed that the committee will hold a meeting with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry once he returns from a visit to Washington.

"We want to review his consultations with the ministers of foreign affairs in different countries on the issue of human rights," said the committee, adding that "we also want to identify the role of Egypt's permanent mission in the UN and the UN Council for Human Rights in correcting misguided reports on the situation of human rights in Egypt."

"Our diplomatic missions, particularly in the UN, should also play a greater role in alerting the international community about the role of countries that sponsor terrorists and provide them with safe havens," said Darwish.

Darwish noted that Egypt has been able since 2014 to weather all politicised campaigns aiming to tarnish its human rights image, and that these campaigns have never been able to exhaust the state or dissuade it from implementing development programmes.

Parliament has in recent weeks mobilised to respond to a flurry of foreign reports criticising Egypt’s human rights record.

The biggest move came on 25 October when parliament condemned an EU parliament resolution criticising the government for rounding up dozens of political activists and journalists who joined protests against the government on 27 September.

Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said that the EU parliament has no authority to comment on such issues.

“This represents a continuation of an unacceptable pattern of similar EU parliament resolutions which the Egyptian parliament and people are not concerned with,” Abdel-Aal said, adding that “we do not know on what basis the EU parliament gives itself the right to comment on the internal issues of non-EU countries." 

The exchange of verbal attacks between Egypt and the EU parliament led Marina Vraila, the head of the political, press, and information section at the UN delegation in Cairo, to ask for an urgent meeting with parliament’s leading officials to contain the situation.

After meeting with Vraila on 28 October, Darwish said that “Egypt totally rejects the arrogant language and the style of dictation used by some to evaluate internal domestic conditions, particularly when these take the line of organised, politicised and misguided campaigns.

“The EU parliament should know that there is a fine line between the adoption of issues related to human rights and the support of terrorist organisations,” Darwish said.

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