NCHR hails Sisi's decision to not extend state of emergency as 'key step to bolstering human rights'

Ahram Online , Tuesday 26 Oct 2021

Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) hailed on Monday President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s decision not to extend the nationwide state of emergency, calling it "an important step towards bolstering, implementing, and protecting human rights.”

Members of the NCHR - Clockwise from top-left: Mahmoud Karim, Moshira Khattab, Mohamed Anwar Esmat El-Sadat, Ezzat Ibrahim, and George Ishak

El-Sisi announced on Monday that he will not be extending the state of emergency, which has been in place in the last four years, saying Egypt has become “an oasis of security and stability in the region.”

“I have decided for the first time in years to end the state of emergency nationwide, a decision that the Egyptian people have been the true agents of … due to their sincere and faithful participation in all development and construction efforts,” El-Sisi wrote on Facebook.

In April 2017, the president declared a nationwide state of emergency after two church bombings that killed 47 people in Alexandria and Tanta. The state of emergency has since been renewed every three months with the approval of the House of Representatives, in accordance with the constitution. It was last extended on 24 July and was due to expire in late October.

The state of emergency is imposed in Egypt during times of war, internal turbulence, or pandemics, and gives the president broader powers to take exceptional measures, according to the Emergency Law.

This includes imposing restrictions on the movement of citizens during certain periods, arresting suspects, referring accused citizens to state security courts, ordering censorship on newspapers and publications, setting working hours for businesses, and halting classes in all educational facilities.

The NCHR said the president’s decision “reflects the state of stability and development the country has witnessed thanks to the wise leadership of El-Sisi.”

In early October, the NCHR was reconstituted with 27 members and presided over by Ambassador Mushira Khattab.

The NCHR added that the decision “sends a message to Egyptians that the state is serious and determined to exert all efforts to strengthen human rights. It is an integral part of an honest and brave implementation of the content of the National Strategy for Human Rights,” which was launched by the president in mid-September.

Egypt’s new human rights strategy addresses civilian and political rights; economic, social, and cultural rights; the rights of women, children, disabled people, youths, and the elderly; and education and capacity building in the human rights field.

The president has stressed that the new strategy reflects Egypt’s comprehensive concept of human rights. He also called for a broader engagement of civil society organisations in development and protecting human rights at the political, economic, and social levels, declaring 2022 the “Year of Civil Society.”

“The launch of the National Strategy for Human Rights represents an unprecedented chance and a beginning of a great era for a new republic that is founded on respect and the implementation of human rights,” the NCHR added.

“The great Egyptian people desire and deserve this new republic.”

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