Egypt's Senate rebukes European Parliament statement on human rights as 'far from transparent and objective'

Amr Kandil , Saturday 19 Dec 2020

The Senate's statement affirmed that the judicial authority in Egypt works independently, according to the constitution, and is not influenced by executive authorities

Egypt's Senate Headquarters - formerly known as Shura Council

Egypt’s Senate has voiced its categorical rejection of the European Parliament’s recent statement on the status of human rights in Egypt, denouncing it as a step towards interfering in Egypt’s affairs.

The Senate released a statement on Saturday in response to the European Parliament’s remarks, saying the statement “exploits the human rights file to interfere in Egypt’s affairs, in contradiction with international resolutions and Egypt’s sovereignty over its lands.”

Egypt's House of Representatives also rebuked in a statement on Friday the European Parliament's resolution on the status of human rights in Egypt, saying it reflected "politicised objectives and an unbalanced policy."

"The resolution is also unacceptable because it includes many misguided statements about the situation of human rights in Egypt, not to mention that it is not in harmony with the Egyptian-European partnership," said the statement, adding that "for these reasons, the Egyptian parliament completely rejects the European Parliament's resolution."

On Thursday and Friday, the European Parliament adopted two resolutions taking stock of the human rights situations in China, Iran and Egypt.

The European Parliament said it deplores, once again and in the strongest possible terms, what it considered to be "the continued and intensifying crackdown" on fundamental rights and, among others, the "persecution" of human rights defenders, lawyers and civil society in Egypt.

The European Parliament's statement urged the Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against senior Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) activists Gasser Abdel-Razek, Karim Ennarah and Mohamed Basheer, who were recently arrested in Egypt and released on bail.

The Senate said the defendants mentioned in the European Parliament’s statement are accused of committing “criminal offences” that are punishable by the Egyptian law. The defendants are being tried in accordance with legal procedures,the Senate added.

The Senate's statement affirmed that the judicial authority in Egypt works independently, according to the constitution, and is not influenced by executive authorities.

“The European Parliament's statement on human rights in Egypt is far from transparency and objectivity and has taken a superficial view that does not exist on the ground of the rights file in Egypt.”

The Senate said the human rights situation in Egypt is “balanced”, according to the opinions of international human rights organisations. It added that the Egyptian state adheres to the constitution and laws regulating work in the country, affirming that these laws are in line with international conventions.

The Senate said the European Parliament “does not have the right to issue provisions without an objective view that reflects the reality on the ground in Egypt.

“The remarks and provisions the European Parliament has launched against Egypt were obtained from devilish sources that are working against Egypt.”

The European Parliament's statement also “deliberately ignored to mention that Egypt has exerted, over the past years, remarkable efforts in the human rights file and has been keen to adhere to international standards concerning this file, in a way that preserves the dignity of people and fosters the principles of democracy.”

The Senate said Article 75 of the Egyptian constitution has legitimised the establishment of civil society organisations on democratic bases, prohibited their dissolution except by a court ruling, and secured their right to work and convene freely.

However, it is prohibited for NGOs to be established secretly, the statement added.

The Senate stated that the law does not give the right for NGOs to be used as a “cover to commit crimes against the state nor the means to destroy it.”

This is “unacceptable for a sovereign state. Laws the world over criminalise [these acts], on top of these are European countries that have suffered from terrorism, including France and England.”

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