By Youssef El Beshlawy
30 Egyptian NGOs have warned against amending the 2012 constitution, and have called for a new one, according to a Monday statement published on the website of the Arab Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (ACIJLP).
The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, the ACIJLP, the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights, the Habi Centre for Environmental Rights, the Land Centre for Human Rights, among others, signed this statement.
The NGOs expressed their concern regarding the Egypt’s constitutional path, and stated that amending this suspended constitution, which was subject to ‘popular and political criticism’, is dangerous.
“This constitution was a foundation for sectarianism and discrimination based on religion and sex. It did not guarantee the protection of basic human rights for citizens.”
They added that the criteria of appointment of the 2012 constitution constituent assembly members were declared non-constitutional by the Supreme Constitutional Court.
“Hence, it cannot be built upon. Especially after the Egyptian people showed their refusal of the Muslim Brotherhood regime and its work… The 2012 constitution was invalidated by revolutionary legitimacy”.
The group emphasised their concern was increased by the appointment of a counsellor “known for his bias for the Brotherhood” as a member of the constitutional committee.
“We fear a deadlock similar to that of the legal committee which amended the 1971 constitution” after the 2011 revolution, they said, adding that it “included members of the Brotherhood’. This committee led to catastrophic consequences […] which Egypt is still suffering from.”
They warned against accepting amendments on the 2012 suspended constitution in “surrender to political compromise to the detriment of supreme constitutional values.”
“Such surrender can only lead to a disaster like the one due to the previous path in which Egypt suffered from the extortion of some political Islamic currents,” the statement said.
The statement concluded with a call to interim president Adly Mansour to “assume his national and constitutional responsibility and intervene immediately and rapidly to save the country from the pitfall of building the country’s institutions before writing down a completely new constitution.”