CAIRO: The Egyptian government must take “immediate and transparent measures towards the drafting of an action plan for the implementation of human rights recommendations it has vowed to honor, 16 human rights organizations said Wednesday.
Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) reviewed Egypt’s human rights record in February under the Universal Periodic Mechanism. The government voluntarily accepted 119 recommendations made during the HRC session, rejected 21 and is considering 25 additional recommendations ahead of the next HRC meeting in June when the final list of recommendations will be approved.
Launching its “One Hundred Days campaign in a press release yesterday, the 16 NGOs that make up the Forum of Independent Egyptian Human Rights Organizations stressed that “the success of the UPR ultimately depends on how serious the Egyptian government is regarding the implementation of the recommendations and civil society’s inclusion in the monitoring and evaluation process.
The Forum has invited a government committee in charge of the UPR to a meeting to discuss an implementation plan, and will hold a similar meeting with foreign diplomats in Cairo and HRC observers.
Signatories of the statement expressed “grave concern at the government’s “intentional undermining of various opportunities for an objective and constructive debate that would strengthen human rights.
“In both its official report to the UN and the oral presentation, the Egyptian government justified widespread human rights abuses in Egypt by citing cultural justifications, the spread of extremism and terrorism, and the global financial crisis, the statement reads.
“On the other hand, it failed to recognize the existence of long-standing structural problems in the constitution, legislation, policies, and daily security practices.
The Forum noted that many of the recommendations accepted by the government “were formulated in a vague, general, and, at times, repetitive manner, which weakens their value – the majority of the 52 ally-states of Egypt which spoke during the UPR review in February either praised Egypt’s human rights record or commended it on its efforts to improve the human rights situation.
“This requires the drafting of a national action plan in which the government will outline – in a transparent fashion – how these recommendations will be translated into legislation and policy , the Forum said.
In February the government rejected “several important recommendations that would have had a positive impact on human rights and basic liberties in Egypt , the Forum noted.
Among the recommendations currently under consideration by the government which the Forum urged it to accept are ending religious discrimination against non-Muslims through granting them the freedom to engage in religious rites and the issuance of a unified law for the construction and renovation of houses of worship.