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Friday, 18 June 2021

Parliament decries UNHRC statement on human rights in Egypt

The parliamentary Human Rights Committee called on international institutions to work jointly with Egypt’s legitimate institutions to improve human rights conditions instead of issuing accusations

Ahram Online , Saturday 13 Mar 2021
Egyptian House of Representatives
File photo of the Egyptian House of Representatives (Photo: Reuters)
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The Egyptian House of Representatives' Human Rights Committee announced its "denunciation and utter rejection of the accusations and allegations mentioned in the joint statement by several United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) member states on the situation of human rights in Egypt," a statement by MP Tarek Radwan, head of the committee, read on Friday.

The committee questioned the purpose and timing of the UNHRC statement, which it said was issued "without real reasons other than the desire for political interference in Egypt's domestic affairs."

On Friday, a group of 30 member states of the UNHRC – including Canada, Australia, and the US – supported a statement by Finland to the Geneva Forum expressing concerns over deteriorating human rights conditions, placing restrictions on the work of civil society organisations, and restricting freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt.

Egypt’s parliamentary committee said the joint statement "came in response to the pressures of funded groups who are hostile towards Egypt, based on their presence in Geneva and Brussels."

“They [the funded groups] are primarily concerned with embarrassing the Egyptian state and mobilising the international community to obstruct Egypt's development efforts and its role in promoting stability and peace regionally and internally,” the parliamentary committee’s statement read.

The accusations in the UNHRC statement are "repeated allegations that are not based on facts or evidence," the Egyptian statement continued. 

The parliamentary committee explained that the incident referred to by Finland as proof of its allegations was the case of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), which was settled and resolved months ago.

Referring to this case is telling of "the absence of facts when tackling Egyptian issues," added the committee. 

In December, Egypt’s prosecution ordered the release of three top officials of the EIPR on bail after being arrested in November. The prosecution at the time justified its decision as legal documents were provided by the EIPR showing the legal procedures that have been taken to change the status of the EIPR from a regular company to a non-profit organisation in accordance with the NGO law.

The Egyptian foreign ministry also issued a statement on Friday evening expressing its rejection of the UNHRC's joint statement and its claims based on inaccurate information.

In its statement, the Egyptian parliamentary Human Rights Committee called on "international institutions to communicate directly with Egypt’s legislative and executive institutions and to establish a constructive dialogue with them to work jointly to improve human rights conditions instead of issuing false accusations." 

This should" substitute the unsupported accusations and allegations that are issued only to occupy public opinion without real plans to address the alleged human rights gaps," the parliamentary statement noted.

The committee affirmed it "closely monitors all allegations and claims and uses its parliamentary tools to investigate human rights violations that require the intervention of the committee and the accountability of the perpetrators," the statement read.

"The ultimate goal of the committee is to perpetually improve human rights conditions and ensure Egyptian citizens are treated decently in accordance with the constitution and the law," the statement noted. 

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