Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marawan (Photo: Ahram Weekly)
The Egyptian government has decided to issue an annual report on human rights in Egypt, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marawan told reporters on Wednesday.
In a press conference held following the cabinet's weekly meeting, Marawan revealed that the government also aims to give greater attention to foreign reports on human rights in Egypt.
"Reports by international entities with which Egypt has signed agreements will receive sufficient attention and care from the government," said Marawan, adding that "there are other foreign groups that are only interested in painting a bleak picture of the human rights situation in Egypt."
"We will also respond to reports by these groups to refute their claims about Egypt," the minister added.
Marawan said that a major recommendation in the first report, which will be issued soon, is that a committee be formed to develop a national strategy on protecting human rights in Egypt.
"All cabinet ministries, particularly the interior and justice ministries, will be required to participate in drafting this strategy," said Marawan.
The minister said that there have been many positive developments in the area of human rights in Egypt since 2014, when President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi took office.
"We have had developments in favour of supporting civilian and political rights, such as new laws on the media, church building, elections, reforming religious discourse, and improving conditions in Egyptian prisons and conditions for the families of prisoners.
"We will shed light on these positive developments in our reports," said Marawan.
A 2016 report issued by the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) on the human rights situation in Egypt will be discussed by parliament's human rights committee during a plenary session in the coming days.
Marawan said that it is “deplorable” that the NCHR report, like some foreign reports, gave an unrealistic evaluation of the human rights situation in Egypt.
"The government's reports will try to correct this evaluation," he said.
The NCHR, which was established by the government in 2003, is an independent council that aims to promote, maintain, and protect human rights and public freedoms in accordance with the constitution and international conventions.
"The report will be neutral, recording all positive and negative aspects of the human rights situation in Egypt throughout the year," explained the minister, adding that "the first report will be issued soon, covering the political, economic, social, and [overall] human rights situation in Egypt since 2014."