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Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Egypt strives to build on successes, address shortcomings in upholding human rights: Diplomat

Egypt also urged the council to protect human rights in conflict zones and to curb racial discrimination against foreigners in European countries

Ahram Online , Monday 24 Feb 2020
Ambassador Ahmed Gamal El-Din
Egyptian Ambassador Ahmed Ihab Gamal El-Din delivering Egypt's statement before the high-level segment of the 43rd Session of the UNHRC
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Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Human Rights Ahmed Ihab Gamal El-Din delivered on Monday Egypt's statement before the high-level segment of the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), where he highlighted Egypt’s efforts in advancing rights and raising the council's attention to a number of issues including the violations against the Palestinian people.

The 43rd HRC session is held from 24 February to 20 March at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ambassador Gamal El-Din asserted that Egypt considers human rights an integral part of its comprehensive development strategy, and that the state and all its institutions abide by the constitution and the rule of the law.

“Human rights for us, as it is for any other country with no exceptions, is a continuous, cumulative process in which no one has reached perfection,” Gamal El-Din said. “So, like everyone else, we strive every day to build on successes and address any shortcomings or challenges.”

Gamal El-Din mentioned a number of the steps Egypt has taken in this regard over the past year.

Among those steps was Egypt's submission of five national reports to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights' (OHCHR) committees: the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

He added that Egypt is currently working on finalising the rest of the overdue reports during the current year.

Gamal El-Din pointed out that Egypt has witnessed a massive shift in the advancement of citizenship rights and the elimination of discrimination, as well as in reinforcing religious freedoms, fighting extremism, and spreading tolerance.

He mentioned that Egypt has legalised about 1,500 churches and religious services buildings, and that starting the current academic year, a compulsory course on human rights and fighting corruption is being taught at all colleges and higher education institutes.

Ambassador Ahmed Gamal El-Din
Egyptian Ambassador Ahmed Ihab Gamal El-Din delivering Egypt's statement before the high-level segment of the 43rd Session of the UNHRC

Ambassador Gamal El-Din raised the council’s attention to a number of issues that represent an imminent threat to human rights, including the right to life.

“The council must carry out its responsibilities and address the suffering of the Palestinian people and the violations they are subjected to,” Gamal El-Din told the council.

Gamal El-Din urged the council to protect human rights in conflict zones like Syria and Yemen, and to sort out the conditions of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

He also urged the council to curb hate speech and racial discrimination, especially in light of the noticeable increase in attacks targeting Muslims and foreigners in many European countries.

Gamal El-Din said that Egypt urges the council to respect the “Institution-building package” adopted by the member states, and to refrain from negative practices and the increased polarisation that compromises the council's credibility and universality.

“The council should not turn into an arena for serving narrow political agendas, exchanging accusations, negative stereotyping of different cultures, and trying to impose debatable notions.” Gamal asserted.

The HRC was created by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in March 2006, and it consists of 47 UN member states elected by the UNGA.

The HRC holds at least three sessions per year in March, June and September. Its first ever regular session was in June 2006.

In 2016, Egypt was elected with a majority vote for a three-year stint on the UN Human Rights Council. Its term expired in 2019.

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