Essam Shiha the head of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights speaking during the second session of the conference on 'Human Rights: Building the Post Pandemic World' (Photo: Al-Ahram)
There are signs of a political will to improve human rights conditions in Egypt, participants at a human rights focused conference hosted by the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS) said on Wednesday.
During the second session of the conference, dubbed ‘Human Rights: Building the Post Pandemic World, participants said that human rights were an integrated system that includes economic, social and political rights.
The human rights issue in Egypt was addressed after a foreign correspondent referred to a statement issued by 31 countries at the UN Human rights council in Geneva criticizing in March human rights conditions in Egypt.
“I understand the interest of the European Union and the European Parliament and 30 countries in the human rights conditions in Egypt. I appreciate this role in following up with human rights, however I understand that human rights are an integrated system that includes economic, social and political rights,” Essam Shiha, the head of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights said.
He said it was necessary that it was necessary that signatories of the statement criticizing Egypt verify from civil society groups operating in Egypt that such information were correct.
“There are information that is exaggerated. We are not saying that human rights conditions in Egypt are favorable and we admit that we have issues, yet there were evidence that there is a political determination to improve human rights conditions,” he said.
He highlighted the necessity of investigating claims before denouncing human rights conditions in Egypt, describing the current rights status in the country as one that is a “continuous and permanent process”.
Shiha said that no country worldwide has reached perfectionism in human rights, adding that while he acknowledges shortcomings in human rights, there was still an improvement.
“I understand the EU, European Parliament and the United States role as strategic partners in to the Egyptian state, however, the other side should also acknowledge that the state is determined on achieving human rights,” he said.
Shiha said that there were very sensitive topics that need a solution, including pre-trial detention in Egypt.
He stressed the necessity of finding alternatives to pre-trial detention, especially with other advanced nations reaching reformulations for the legal procedure which has been criticized by rights groups in the past years.
The ECSS conference concluded with several recommendations related to improving human rights conditions in Egypt, including recommending that legislative and judicial bodies concerned review periods of pretrial detention and work to determine mechanisms to avoid lengthy detentions.
It called for renewing the role of the Presidential Pardon Committee, formed after the National Youth Conference in 2016, and working to develop its work mechanisms amid recent developments.
“We call for the expansion of the scope of the political field by inviting youth to join political parties and practice partisan work to develop their political capabilities and enable them to assume leadership positions,” the ECSS said.
They also launched a research program on local and international human rights, the statement by ECSS said, calling on Egyptian civil society groups to launch a permanent program with the SCSS to fortify positive momentum on human rights.
The ECSS also said it is inviting regional officials of international organizations operating in Egypt to establish a more comprehensive and dynamic cooperate framework for communication and joint work with ECSS.
An annual conference on human rights will also be organized with the participation of local and international partners, the ECSS said.