Egypt's Constituent Assembly hears from local rights groups

Ahram Online, Sunday 22 Jul 2012

Beleaguered constitution-drafting body's proposals committee takes suggestions from various Egyptian civil-society groups

A general view of the two chambers of parliament meeting to elect the 100 members of the constituent assembly in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)


Members of Egypt's Constituent Assembly – tasked with drafting a new constitution – met on Sunday with the representative of 18 Egyptian human rights organisations to discuss Egypt's next national charter.  

Present at Sunday's meeting were the representatives of a number of local NGOs, including the Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre and the Institute for Freedom of Thought and Expression.

Human rights advocates met with members of the Constituent Assembly's proposals committee, which was drawn up to hear suggestions on the drafting of a new constitution from various segments of Egyptian society. 

According to proposals committee member Khaled El-Azhari, rights organisations on Sunday made suggestions and presented different perspectives concerning Egypt's future constitution.

El-Azhari said the committee had held 50 such hearing sessions so far and would continue to do so until 3 August, when sessions were scheduled to come to an end.

The 100 members of Egypt's Constituent Assembly were chosen by parliament's now-dissolved lower house.

The assembly's fate, however, remains uncertain, after several appeals were lodged against its constitutionality following the abrupt dissolution of parliament's democratically-elected lower house in June.

Egypt's Administrative Court has decided to put all appeals against the assembly on hold until 30 June, however, when it is expected to rule on a case demanding the recusal of the presiding judges in the case.

Several MPs withdrew from the assembly in June, saying that that the constitution-drafting body failed to reflect the diversity of Egyptian society. 

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