Egypt hits back at United States over human rights

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Egypt said on Saturday that the United States had no right to set itself up as a global guardian of human rights and rejected Washington s criticism of Cairo s record, saying it was based on inaccurate information. The US State Department, in an annual report, cited Egypt as one of several countries where observance of human rights had deteriorated in 2006 and said violations there included severe cases of torture. The United Nations did not grant any state the right to consider itself a guardian of human rights in the world, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit was quoted as saying in a statement. It seems that those who prepared it [the report] are unfamiliar with the objective realities of some of the countries they dealt with, including Egypt, the statement said. Aboul Gheit said the report was based on inaccurate and incomplete information. While Egypt and the United States were in agreement about the importance of human rights issues, they nonetheless disagreed sometimes over some of the practical aspects, he said. The report, released on Tuesday, said torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees by police, security personnel and prison guards remained common and persistent in Egypt. Egypt says it does not condone torture and that it only occurs in isolated instances. The Interior Ministry has said before that allegations of systematic torture were exaggerated to tarnish the image of the police. But both international and local rights groups say torture is systematic in Egyptian jails and police stations. Human rights activists say emergency laws in place since 1981 and which allow prisoners to be held incommunicado create a fertile environment for torture. The journalists rights group, Reporters Without Borders, last year added Egypt to a list of worst suppressors of freedom of expression on the Internet. Rights groups have said the recent conviction of a blogger for insulting President Hosni Mubarak and Islam could set a legal precedent limiting Internet freedom in Egypt. The report also mentioned the government s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt s strongest opposition group, citing the pattern of arbitrary arrest and detention of hundreds of the group s members.

Aboul Gheit said countries that wished to issue human rights reports should focus on their own human rights problems.

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