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Egypt's newly-elected MPs to focus on defending country's human rights record

New MPs said Egypt's human rights record is facing ferocious attacks from politicised and biased Western organisations

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 27 Dec 2020
Egyptian parliament
File photo: Egyptian parliament (Photo: Reuters)
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A large number of Egypt's newly-elected MPs told the media that their agenda in the new parliament will focus on discussing and reviewing the country's human rights conditions.

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, a young MP and a member of the National Council for Human Rights, told reporters during a reception party on Sunday that Egypt has gone a long way in improving its record of human rights in the political, economic and social fields.

"As a result, we see that the country has regained stability after long years of internal chaos and is currently doing its best to raise the living standards of citizens," Abdel-Aziz said.

He also referred to this month's resolutions issued by the European Parliament on the human rights situation in Egypt.

"These resolutions are part of ferocious attacks and campaigns led by some politicised Western institutions that issue reports based on misguided and biased information," he said, adding that "our responsibility in Egypt's new parliament is to stand up to these malicious reports and also discuss the situation of human rights in Egypt in an open and candid way."

"We have nothing to hide about human rights conditions in Egypt and I think that we should take foreign reports in this respect in a very serious way and discuss them in a logical way and respond to them through dialogue and an exchange of views," he said.

He also said that some countries, particularly the United States, use the issue of human rights and democracy as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

"Some Western media outlets insist that new US President-elect Joe Biden will exercise pressure on Egypt in the area of democracy and human rights, but let them know that we have nothing to hide and we know how to protect our country and keep it safe and stable," he said.

Ayman Abul-Ela, an MP affiliated with the Reform and Development party, also told reporters that the file of human rights in Egypt will take prominence in the new parliament.

"We see that some Western institutions with radical leftist and liberal agendas like the European Parliament, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International adopt a very critical view of human rights conditions in Egypt," Abul-Ela said, "these institutions are politicized and take double standards in covering human rights issues in the Middle East."

"While these institutions take a very aggressive stand towards Egypt and always paint a bleak picture of conditions here, they ignore gross human rights violations in other countries like Turkey and Qatar," he said, adding that "these institutions are highly supportive of radical Islamist movements and like to portray them as democratic, which is completely untrue as we all know how Islamist movements, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, abused power and helped terrorist organisations during the Arab Spring years."

Abul-Ela added, however, that there should be a new strategy for human rights in Egypt.

"There should be a greater coordination between parliament's human rights committee, the foreign ministry and the National Council for Human rights in the coming period in order to expose the double standards and politicised reports issued by such Western organisations," Abul-Ela said.

Fardia El-Shobashi, a newly-elected MP and a media expert, also told reporters that Egypt has achieved a lot in the area of respecting human rights.

"In the new House, for example, there will be 148 female MPs, the highest number in Egypt's long parliamentary life, not to mention that there will be a record number of young MPs," said El-Shobashi, arguing that "these should be considered new gains in the area of human rights."

Mohamed El-Husseini, a member of the National Movement Party, said the resolutions issued by the European Parliament on human rights in Egypt this month reflect very radical liberal Western views.

"These kinds of reports issued by the European Parliament and other Western organisations always seek to impose radical conceptions about human rights and particularly focus on a radical political agenda that only leads to chaos and instability," said El-Husseini, adding that "they always speak about what they call the right to organise peaceful protests and sit-ins, but this is not suitable for a country trying to achieve economic development in a stable and secure climate."

El-Husseini believes that the last report issued by the European Parliament was based on information provided by hostile movements like the Muslim Brotherhood.

"They took information in their report from members affiliated with this radical group without revising them and without seeking the views of local Egyptian organisations or the foreign ministry on this information," he said.

He also believes that Western reports on human rights in Egypt always describe criminals convicted of terrorist acts as "insurgents or political prisoners."

"This means that Western organisations blame Egypt simply because it defends itself against terrorist crimes and terrorists targeting the security of the country," said El-Husseini, adding that "this comes at a time when we see that most Western countries like France, Germany and the United States take very arbitrary measures to protect their societies from the dangers of terrorist crimes."

Egypt's two-stage parliamentary elections were held between 24 October and 8 December to fill 568 seats. Most of the newly-elected MPs visited parliament in the last few days to receive their membership cards.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is expected to issue two presidential decrees soon to name 28 appointees to the new House and to set a date for the first opening session.

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