Egyptian human rights groups stress need for freedom to work in meeting with National Dialogue coordinator

Ahram Online , Saturday 15 Apr 2023

Several Egyptian human rights groups that are set to participate in the National Dialogue, which will start on 3 May, stressed on Friday the need for legal amendments that would protect their freedom to work across the country.

The National Dialogue
File photo: The National Dialogue s 19-member Council of Trustee during a meeting in preparation of the official kick-off of the initiative


In a meeting with National Dialogue General Coordinator Diaa Rashwan, the human rights groups highlighted the need to secure an atmosphere that ensures the effective engagement of all parties in the dialogue, a statement by the dialogue read.

They also stressed the importance of securing further freedom for the human rights groups’ work and passing legislation that would give these groups more room to work.

Representatives of a number of rights groups attended the meeting, including from the Arab Organisation for Human Rights, the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, the Arab Youth Council for Integrated Development and the Arab Council Supporting Fair Trials and Human Rights (ACSFT).

Representatives from Al-Mahrousa for Development and Participation, El Hak Foundation for Freedom of Expression and Human Rights as well as from the LIFE Foundation for Development and Community Integration were among the attendees.

The meeting also saw the participation of the Egyptian Association for the Care of Prisoners and Their Families, the National Association for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms as well as a number of human rights experts.

During the meeting, the participants discussed key issues regarding human rights and public freedoms, including those related to people with disabilities, women and freedom of belief.

They also presented their proposals regarding reintegration of released prisoners into society, ensuring effective participation of youth and providing free legal assistance for the needy accused.

They also discussed the issues of securing more fair trial guarantees and demanded speedy issuance of service cards for people with disabilities to receive the services allocated for them under the law.

The participants stressed that they hope that the dialogue sessions would be public.

This is the second meeting for Rashwan with representatives of the human rights organisations as the first meeting took place last Sunday.

During the last meeting, the attendees called for facilitating the registration of human rights organisations wishing to regularise their status.

They also called for the extension of the official registration deadline for the NGOs wishing to operate under the umbrella of the 2019 law regulating the activities of NGOs and civil society in Egypt.

The Ministry of Social Solidarity had already announced that 12 April was the final registration deadline.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called for the dialogue during the annual Egyptian Family Iftar banquet in April 2022.

The dialogue is set to look into all political, economic, and social issues. In September 2022, the 19-member board of trustees completed its selection of rapporteurs and assistant rapporteurs for the dialogue's three main tracks (political, economic and social) and their 19 subcommittees.

Recommendations that will be made by the subcommittees will be referred to the board to be sent to the president for a final say, according to previous remarks by Rashwan.

The president asserted that all intellectuals, syndicates and political forces are welcome to participate in the dialogue. He highlighted that only one faction was to be excluded from the dialogue, a subtle reference to the Muslim Brotherhood.

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