Egypt's rights council holds urgent meeting on president's declaration

Ahram Online, Sunday 25 Nov 2012

National Council for Human Rights vice president resigns; former official slams 'negligence and lack of transparency' on part of official bodies involved in the necessary investigations

An urgent National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) meeting is set for Tuesday to discuss President Morsi's constitutional declaration, which has caused an uproar in Egypt.

The council's vice president, Abdel Ghaffar Shukr, declared that he will resign from the council to protest the presidential decree's 'violations of human rights declarations' and the principles of judicial independence. He asserts, however, that he will attend Tuesday's meeting, as agreed upon with Hossam El-Gheriany, the head of the council.

Shukr's resignation comes alongside a number of his colleagues' resignations over ongoing clashes in Tahrir and Mohamed Mahmoud Street, which coincide with the timing of Morsi's controversial constitutional declaration. 

The former head of the council, Mohsen Awad, charged all official bodies with negligence late Saturday for not investigating suspects involved in the killing of unarmed protesters during Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes. He specifically pointed to the minister of interior, public prosecution and the intelligence services.

"I withdrew from the council after presenting a report to the fact-finding committee on last year's Mohamed Mahmoud [Street] clashes, over the extreme difficulty in obtaining the necessary information for our investigations," stated Awad to Al-Ahram Arabic website.

One of the most striking incidents of lack of transparency, he detailed, was the hospitals' refusal to afford the committee any information needed.

He also charges that the "foot-dragging" in the prosecution of suspects of killing protesters during and since the January 25 Revolution is a flagrant violation of human rights.

The NCHR, a government-allied body, is tasked with safeguarding human rights in Egypt is responsible for advising state institutions, along with other relevant bodies, on issues related to human rights.

The president and vice president's statements come in light of recurring clashes on Mohamed Mahmoud Street since the day of commemoration, almost a week ago on Monday. Over 200 have been reported injured so far as a result of the ongoing clashes.

The Mohamed Mahmoud clashes took place on 19 November 2011, when Egyptian security forces used violence to disperse a sit-in. The demonstrators consisted of those injured and the families of those killed during Egypt's January 25 Revolution in 2011. They were asking for retribution and for justice to be served.

Protestors battled with police for four days. Over 40 protesters died as a result and hundreds more were injured.

Short link: