President of Egypt’s National Council of Human Rights (NCHR) Moushira Khattab during meetins in Geneva.
An Egyptian delegation led by President of the NCHR Moushira Khattab held a set of meetings with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, various EU ambassadors, and the International Committee of the Red Cross from 6 to 10 June in Geneva, Switzerland.
According to a statement issued by the NCHR on Sunday to review the outcomes of the five-day visit, Bachelet said that these “positive steps will help the country deal with the current challenges.”
In September 2021, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi launched the National Human Rights Strategy that stipulates a set of government commitments to improve elements of socio-economic, cultural, and political rights in the country over the next five years.
He also called in April on various political parties and forces to conduct a national dialogue on pertinent social and political issues.
Bachelet expressed to the Egyptian delegation the UN Commission’s interest in cooperating with the NCHR at the technical level, underscoring the importance of involving civil society in implementing the national human rights strategy.
Furthermore, Khattab said the NCHR and the EU are preparing a cooperation project to help the country implement its human rights strategy.
The NCHR takes into account that the application of human rights standards is a vital and essential matter, she added.
Additionally, Khattab said the council is studying alternatives for pretrial detention.
As per the Egyptian penal code, those accused of crimes can be detained for up to two years in pretrial detention.
Khattab also praised during the meeting El-Sisi’s role in achieving an unprecedented breakthrough in civil and political rights for women and Christians, the statement added.
Moreover, the statement noted that the launch of the national dialogue and the reactivation of the presidential pardon committee would enhance human rights in the country.
In April, El-Sisi ordered the reactivation of the Presidential Pardon Committee, with tens of pretrial detainees released by the Public Prosecution and some who received final court verdicts pardoned by the president.
The scope of the committee, which started its work immediately upon reactivation, has been expanded to cooperate with state institutions and NGOs and to include jailed debtors.
The pardon committee receives requests through many avenues, including the complaints committee of the NCHR.
Karem also said that the NCHR expressed its keenness to develop its complaint system, contribute to the current discussions on pretrial detention, as well as combating discrimination, supporting religious freedoms, and renouncing hatred.
Bachelet concluded the meeting by expressing her aspiration for “further positive developments in Egypt.”