Egypt s Senate (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Speaker of the Senate Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Razek said the new government-drafted law on the rights of senior citizens is a very progressive step on the road to respecting human rights in Egypt.
“The social benefits provided by this law are not only limited to Egyptians, but also will extend to include Arabs and foreigners who live in Egypt,” said Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Razek.
Mohamed Hiba, the head of the Senate’s Human Rights Committee, said the new law on the rights of senior citizens come after the cancellation of the state of emergency and the declaration of 2022 as the year of civil society in Egypt.
“These three steps push the agenda of human rights forward,” said Hiba.
The Senate’s deputy speaker, Bahaa El-Din Abu Shoqa, said the new law is part of the National Strategy on Human Rights that was declared last September.
“This strategy made it a must for the government to do its best to provide senior citizens with social, political, and health rights, and offer them a pension they can use to live a decent life,” said Abu Shoqa.
Youssef Amer, the head of the Senate’s Religious Affairs Committee, said what is significant about the government-drafted law is that it does not discriminate among senior citizens in terms of religion, nationality, or sex.
A report prepared by the Senate said the government-drafted law is meant to provide as many as 1.7 million senior citizens in Egypt with all forms of social care, decent life benefits, and help them integrate into society.
According to the report, Article 83 of Egypt’s 2014 constitution states that senior citizens have many rights and that the government should do its best to grant them.
“The government-drafted law aims to translate the rights enshrined in Article 83 of the constitution into facts on the ground,” said the report, adding that “the new National Strategy on Human Rights also states that the government, in coordination with civil society organisations, shall move to provide senior citizens with all forms of social care.”
The report added that it is significant that the government-drafted law states that senior citizens who do not receive a retirement pension will be entitled to receive monthly financial assistance.
“This is a very progressive step on the government’s part in terms of social solidarity objectives,” said the report.
To meet these objectives, the new bill states that a senior citizens’ care fund will be set up by the Ministry of Social Solidarity.
“The fund, which shall be under the direct supervision of the prime minister, will be created to procure all the financial allocations necessary to provide senior citizens with all forms of social care, particularly obtaining monthly financial assistance,” said the report.
The report also explains that the new bill makes it binding for the government to take 22 measures necessary to achieve the rights of senior citizens.
“Among these are that the government will help establish social care institutions for senior citizens everywhere in Egypt, provide them with monthly financial assistance, protect them against the risks of epidemics and disasters, provide them with easy access to government and non-government services, provide them with safe shelters at times of disasters, and help them join sporting clubs for nominal fees,” said the report.
It added that “the government will also make sure that there is no discrimination among senior citizens upon the grounds of religion or age, and that senior citizens shall enjoy full political rights and freedom of speech.”