The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) members during their meeting Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the US Department of State Christopher Le Mon on Wednesday 3 February, 2022. Photo courtesy of NCHR Twitter.
Khattab made the remarks in a meeting on Wednesday with Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the US Department of State Christopher Le Mon in the council’s headquarters in New Cairo, according to a statement by the NCHR.
NCHR Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Karem and NCHR members Ezzat Ibrahim and Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat attended the meeting.
Le Mon hailed Egypt’s recent serious steps to support social and economic rights, hailing the launch of the national strategy as an expression of the state’s commitment to support efforts at protecting human rights and basic freedoms in Egypt.
He added that the US is looking forward to seeing positive outcomes of these efforts in the coming period.
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi launched in September the first homegrown National Strategy for Human Rights 2021-2026.
El-Sisi has also labelled 2022 as the year of civil society, hailing the role of the civil society as key to enhancing and protecting human rights at the political, economic and social levels.
During her meeting with Le Mon, Khattab said the National Strategy for Human Rights has created a high ceiling of human rights and proved the Egyptian state’s seriousness in promoting the principles of accountability.
The strategy has also piled more responsibilities on to the shoulders of the government, which nonetheless is committed to implementing the articles of the strategy, Khattab added.
Le Mon discussed a number of challenges facing the human rights file in Egypt, including freedom of expression, pretrial detention, and alleged torture in police stations and prisons, the statement said.
Khattab said enhancing the freedoms and human rights is at the heart of the Egyptian national interest, especially as the state has managed to consolidate its foundation over the past years in the face of serious threats.
The state is currently following a different approach that is open to criticism and deals with it objectively within the framework of the state’s national commitments and international covenants that it signed in the past.
He also discussed concerns regarding Egypt’s new law governing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the personal status law as well as some topics related to women’s rights.
Late in 2020, Egypt’s government ratified the bylaws of a law regulating the work of NGOs in the country. The law replaces legislation issued in 2017 which was heavily criticised by civil society locally and internationally for restricting the work of NGOs.
Earlier this month, the Egyptian Cabinet approved the NCHR’s call for a one-year extension for NGOs to legalise their status in the country.