Debate ensues over NCHR chief's meeting with Israeli ambassador

Safaa Abdoun
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Sameh Ashour, lawyer and candidate for the chairman position at the Lawyers’ Syndicate, announced that he sent a letter to Boutros Boutros-Ghali, head of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), heavily criticizing him for welcoming the Israeli ambassador in his office at the council’s headquarters.

“We are sorry and we are shocked at what you have done, there is no justification and no relation connecting the council and the Zionist enemy. What happened is a poor attempt at creating a relationship with him which is opposed by all members of the council, myself included, Ashour, who is a member of the council, said in a meeting at the Lawyers’ Syndicate, referring to Boutros-Ghali.

The letter labeled the ambassador “an enemy to the Arabs, highlighting crimes Israelis commit against women, children and the elderly, referring to the current assault on Gaza that killed over 500 Palestinians.

Ashour called on Boutros-Ghali to either apologize or submit his resignation.

The letter also asked Boutros-Ghali to hold a session to discuss the matter, warning that otherwise he and the council will compromise their position among Egyptians and Arabs.

Ashour’s supporters at the Syndicate justified his right as an active member of the council to voice his opinion about anything that takes place inside the council.

Another meeting was simultaneously taking place at the council’s headquarters tackling the same issue, where Ashour’s letter was criticized.

Some council members accusing his approach of merely being a publicity stunt to help his campaign.

Some members also asked Ashour to apologize for the accusations he made about Boutros-Ghali, claiming that it was a “personal matter.

However, Hafez Abou Saeda, member of the council, also objected to Boutros-Ghali’s meeting with the Israeli ambassador, submitting a memo to the council’s secretary general, Moukhles Kotb.

“[The meeting] marred the council’s image and conflicts with human rights. Nothing requires a meeting between the council and a country that is accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and everyday violates an international agreement, read the memo, which was published in independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The Arab Foundation for Civil Society Support and Human Rights has also condemned the meeting in a press statement and called it “a negative step.

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