Egypt: Rights groups warn of “political considerations” over human rights
|Sunday, December 6,2009 17:54|
|By Mohamed Abdel Salam|
Egyptian human rights organizations warned on Wednesday of what they described as the ” intrusion of political considerations,” which stands as a barrier to the adoption of a resolution condemning Egypt during the periodic review of its human rights record before the United Nations Human Rights Council on February 17. The 16 rights groups have been pushing for more action and backing from the international community for what they have continually said is the “systematic” abuse of human rights in the country.
Egyptian activists, in a briefing to journalists on Wednesday at Hisham Mubarak Center for Law, reviewed the consolidated report that was formed by a coalition of Egyptian Civil Society Organizations and sent to the United Nations as a counter report to the government’s human rights report. The activists said that “discussing the situation of human rights in Egypt in formal way and in a session of the United Nations is an opportunity to shed light on human rights violations committed by the Egyptian regime and alert the international community of the seriousness of these violations. ”
A report of the coalition of Egyptian organizations that reviewed the situation of human rights in Egypt during the past four years concluded that “the Egyptian regime is moving forward toward further violations of human rights.”
The report added, “violations of human rights in Egypt is not just a coincidence or individual incidents, but are part of a complete and systematic policy.”
Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said “this systematic policy based on four elements: lack of political will to confront the regime or reduce such violations and the culture of immunity and impunity that barriers to hold accountable the perpetrators of violations and the steady expansion of the intervention of security in all forms of public life, in addition to further aggravation of poverty and social inequality in the absence of social justice. ”
About the possibility of a resolution condemning Egypt’s record on human rights, Bahi el-Din Hassan, the director of the Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies, said that it was difficult to condemn Egypt, due to the intervention of political considerations in many cases.
Hassan added that “all matters relating to human rights issues within the United Nations are subject to political considerations concerning the interests of each state.”
He added that “Egypt, in addition to its control of the votes of the Arab and Islamic bloc within the United Nations and the human rights council, which is the control that stands in the face of passing any resolution against Egypt or any Arab or Muslim country, suffers from the same human rights deterioration in their situation. Egypt plays a security role and strategically important for a number of Western countries, which could also play a big role to preempt any decision against Egypt.”
The leaders of organizations said that the process of periodic review is an opportunity to capture an wider image of the situation of human rights in Egypt, a more comprehensive analysis and could provide a vision for the international community. They say the report exposes claims of the Egyptian regime toward better human rights care taking and which also says that Egypt is making progress in human rights.
They added that the Egyptian organizations are seeking coordination with the international human rights organizations to form “mass pressure” on the Egyptian regime to push it to take real steps to address violations of human rights.