CAIRO: Secretary General of the National Council for Human Rights calls on the future generation of diplomats to engage in dialogue, to accept criticism and be able to co-exist in the international arena while simultaneously becoming involved in shaping internal politics.
As part of their training at the diplomatic academy, the new class of diplomatic attaches made a visit to the Council and learnt of future challenges ahead.
Globalization and open transfer of information has made diplomacy today a more challenging task. Today diplomats have to tackle simultaneously both internal politics and external affairs, as well as learn to exist alongside international organizations, national organizations, state parties, and others that all share in the stake.
It would be futile and naïve to shut the door that brings wind, instead gaining information is the strongest tool to face these challenges, said Mokhles Qotb, Secretary General of the Council.
Information is essential that the modern day Egyptian career diplomat needs to understand how to protect human rights, to become a pro-active player in the formulation of internal politics to work and encourage a culture of human rights.
In so doing diplomats would in their daily encounters be able to argue why religion should be removed from the ID, why legislation regarding religious building rights should be unified. Discrepancies in citizenship rights, respect of religious differences and gender disparity would be resolved.
The significance of rights today can not be undermined; individual rights are at the base of everything and that is why an international movement is geared towards formulating bodies to protect rights.
In Egypt, despite criticism faced regarding its mandate of being a National Council for human rights, with time credibility has allowed the Council to act as a consultative body for both governments and NGOs alike.
With a strong complaint-mechanism unit, benchmarks have been placed and limitations set, encouraging better implementation of rights.
Questions raised by the students included whether the effectiveness of tools used by the Council to determine human rights have been tested. Also whether there was a self-auditing system over the Council that is financially independent and unlike most other national bodies does not go under financial inspection.
Qotb contributes the success of the Council largely on its transparency and independent role as the Council was established under a legislation of the Shoura Council, which is the weakest political body in Egypt and therefore has little if no effect on the work of the Council.
Currently, the Council continues to carry out a nation-wide survey on educational curriculum and revise media indicators that contribute or hinder human rights culture in Egypt.
Of the most significant projects the Council is working on, is the human rights awareness campaign in collaboration with USAID that will promote an overall national culture geared towards human rights protection. At present the Council is preparing for the upcoming local elections where there will be an attempt to measure political participation in Egypt which has to date not exceeded 25 percent.