Egypt reacts angrily to latest US State Department Human Rights report

Abdel-Rahman Hussein
3 Min Read

CAIRO: The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has summarily dismissed the findings of the latest Human Rights report released by the US State Department, labeling it as of “no great value.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said that the report was not something that Egypt was concerned about and added that “there is no country that is free from human rights abuses.

Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister of Egypt for Human Rights Wael Aboulmagd said the report was of “no great value and that Egypt did not give much attention to American reports and as such, and was not required to respond to what came in it.

The report, issued last Thursday, cited that in 2009 the Egyptian government’s “respect for human rights remained poor, and serious abuses continued in many areas, including cases of torture and arbitrary detention.

The report also criticized the continuation of the emergency law, stating that “many detainees under the emergency law remained incommunicado in state security detention facilities without access to family members or to lawyers before their cases were transferred to trial, and some faced torture in detention.

However, the report did concede that headway was made in areas regarding the rights of Bahais to procure national identity cards and that the regime allowed the formation of the country’s only independent labor union, the Real Estate Tax Collectors Union.

“The government and foreign ministry needs to change its language, head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights Hafez Abu Saeda told Daily News Egypt, “they should not keep saying they don’t care about any criticism from abroad. You have to care and you have to see how you’re going to change things.

“I don’t agree with this approach or these responses, he added, “we need to see the truth and admit what’s happening and then see how we can change it.

The state department report was also criticized by the state-appointed National Council for Human Rights’ head of the complaints department Mohamed Fayeq, who told MENA news agency, “We should not pay much attention to such reports, as local reports from the NCHR, civil society and international, Arab and African mechanisms concerned outweigh such a report.

The US report also touched upon the difficulty of eliciting political change through peaceful means, pointing out that the ruling National Democratic Party continued to dominate national politics and “there continued to be limitations on citizens’ rights to change their government peacefully.

Abu Saeda said, “What should be more important for the foreign ministry is that it should improve its human rights record as opposed to responding negatively to foreign reports. We have condemnations from the US, the EU and the UN Human Rights Council, they can’t all be wrong, we must admit that violations take place here.

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