The Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS) will hold a conference in Cairo on 8 April dubbed ‘Human Rights: Building the Post Pandemic World’ to tackle the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a press release, the conference will be attended by several high-profile ministers, officials, and representatives of United Nations organisations.
It will also see the participation of civil society organisations working in the development field, where they will present successful experiences since the outbreak in 2020.
The conference will be opened by Dr. Khaled Okasha, the general manager of the ECSS, with opening statements to be delivered by Hala El-Said, the minister of planning and economic development, and Rania Al-Mashat, the minister of international cooperation.
The opening session will also see the participation of key ministers, including the ministers of health, education, social solidarity; the chairpersons of the National Council for Women (NCW) and the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR); as well as representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Save the Children Fund, and a number of civil society institutions.
It will also see the attendance Dr. Yasser Abdel-Aziz, a member and representative of the National Council for Human Rights.
“The ECSS has adopted the International Agenda on Human Rights as a general framework for the conference, to be discussed in the sessions and to put forward thought-provoking and practical recommendations on the topic,” the statement said.
Okasha said “the ECSS realises that the issue of human rights requires collaborative efforts, which is why the conference will see more participants representing the breadth of the community, including representatives from the Egyptian government, the private sector, civil society, volunteering groups, national councils, human rights organisations, and international organisations that will be significantly represented in the conference.”
The conference is scheduled to cover a broad spectrum of topics relating to human rights domestically and abroad.
The first session of the conference, titled ‘Man is the Goal: Human Rights amid the Pandemic’ will tackle two key points: first, promoting the right to health, considering the fundamental fragility that the pandemic has shown, while underlining the need for prioritising such right internationally and ensuring the equitable distribution of vaccines.
The second point to be tackled would be combating discrimination and racism linked to the pandemic, most importantly the discriminatory and racial behaviour against the most vulnerable groups, such as women, refugees, and migrants, with a focus on tools and approaches to prevent such biases to build a better post-pandemic world.
The first session will see the participation of Health Minister Hala Zayed, who will discuss ‘Where does the right to health stand within the human rights system?’.
WHO representative in Cairo Naima Al-Qusayr will discuss ‘The pandemic and threats to the right to life’; while Jerome Fontana, the head of the ICRC Delegation in Cairo, will tackle the critical topic of ‘Ensuring the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines’.
The first session would see other speakers, including Maya Morsi, president of the National Council for Women (NCW), who will respond to the question ‘Have women suffered additional repercussions due to COVID-19?’; Laurent De Boeck, chief of IOM Mission in Egypt, who will cover ‘The twin sufferings of migrants and refugees’; and Salah Sallam, member of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), who will address the ‘New approach to human rights in the post-pandemic world’.
Abdel-Moneim Said, the chairman of the ECSS Advisory Board, will close the first session, which will be moderated by Deputy Manager of the ECSS Mohamed Ibrahim El-Dwiery .
The second session of the conference will address ‘Challenges to Equality and Promoting Sustainable Development Efforts’, tackling the effects of inequality and economic, social, and cultural disparities, particularly in education and digitisation, on deepening the negative consequences of COVID-19.
It will focus on the importance of sustainable development and its role in creating a better post-pandemic world in which the rights of present and future generations are protected and the environmental dimensions are taken into account.
The session will be opened by Tarek Shawki, the minister of education and technical education, who will attempt to answer the question ‘How has COVID-19 affected the right to education?’.
Maged Othman, the head of the Egyptian Centre for Public Opinion Research (Baseera), will discuss the shift toward digitisation, while Essam Shiha, the head of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, will introduce the characteristics of the new social contract.
It will also see the participation of Tarek Radwan, the chairman of the Human Rights Committee in the House of Representatives, who will cover aspects of development, and Tamer Kirollos, the regional director of Save the Children Fund, who will talk about protecting and supporting children in poor and marginalised areas.
Dr. Khaled Habib, an expert on human development and planning, will conclude the session moderated by Gamal Abdel-Gawad, who is a member of the ECSS Advisory Board, by discussing the use of soft power in combating diseases.
The third session, ‘Building a Post-Pandemic World: Solidarity is the Cornerstone’, will focus on promoting solidarity and advancing collaborative efforts to combat the pandemic and build a better post-coronavirus.
It will cover the domestic and foreign aspects, focusing on Egypt’s efforts, mainly those implemented by civil society individually or in cooperation with the government.
Nevine El-Qabbaj, the minister of social solidarity, will tackle the role of solidarity efforts in building a better post-pandemic world.
The last session will see several civil society organisations involved in launching campaigns during the pandemic, reviewing their efforts to stem the negative repercussions of the pandemic.
ECSS’s Okasha will close the session moderated by the centre’s Member of the Advisory Board Dr. Noha Bakr by shedding light on the role of civil work in the post-pandemic world.