Foreign Ministry uses Palestine to swipe back at West over human rights

Abdel-Rahman Hussein
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Apparently still stung by an EU parliament resolution criticizing Egypt’s human rights record, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs struck back at the international community by criticizing the UN Security Council’s failure to adopt a resolution on the current situation in Gaza.

A statement released on behalf of the ministry’s spokesman was scathing about what it considered the appropriation of human rights for political considerations.

The statement “regretted the failure of the Security Council to adopt a presidential declaration on the situation in Gaza, adding that the “the logic adopted by Western member states of the Council is surprising, considering their refusal to name Israel as an occupation power which has adopted collective punishment measures that violate international law and human rights.

“Such stances, the statement continued, “reveal inherent contradictions relating to the political usage of the human rights paper by the West. The European Parliament (EP) had adopted a resolution criticizing Egypt’s rather patchy human rights record. Additionally, the US has often criticized Egypt for the prolific abuses that occur within its borders.

The Egyptian response followed the tried and tested line of rejecting external interference in domestic affairs, but the fallout from the resolution and the subsequent Egyptian reaction continues unabated.

The Foreign Ministry statement became more specific in who it was alluding to when it said, “The European and American stance were weak regarding the Israeli practices so that the powerlessness of the Security Council was revealed when it comes to the Palestinian issue.

The EP had called on Egypt to “end all forms of harassment, including judicial measures, detention of media professionals and, more generally, human rights defenders and activists.

The resolution also called for the release of political dissident Ayman Nour and for the revision of the law on the use of military courts – a practice that the Egyptian authorities have allegedly used to prosecute political opponents.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit had branded the EP as “ignorant for passing the resolution. The EP had adopted the resolution at a rather empty session despite threats from Egypt that they would sever ties with the assembly if the resolution was passed.

“The resolution reveals the [European] assembly’s ignorance of the situation in Egypt … as well as ignorance of the political, economic and social reforms that Egypt has witnessed in recent years, Aboul Gheit told reporters.”Egypt totally rejects attempts by anyone who takes it upon himself to be an investigator of human rights in Egypt, he added.

Additionally, last month the US Congress decided to freeze $100 million in aid to Egypt until US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice could ascertain that Egypt was doing enough to prevent the smuggling of arms into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as well as an indictment of Egypt’s Human Rights record.

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