Seven human rights groups have decided against participating in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations in Geneva due to the threat posed by the government against human rights organisations in Egypt, according to a statement on Tuesday by the Economic Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).
The human rights situation in Egypt over the past four years will be reviewed on Wednesday through the UPR.
Rights groups not participating include the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).
According to a recent statement by 19 rights groups “no progress has been made” in Egypt’s human rights commitments made during the 2010 UPR. The statement gave the Egyptian government 100 recommendations on violations to improve human rights.
The recommendations include granting people the right to assembly, the right of free trial, women’s rights, and rights for minorities.
The government has been criticised by human rights organisations for a proposed law governing NGOs.
“The authorities are continuing to propose new legislation that would give them sweeping powers over NGO registration, funding and activities,” an Amnesty International statement in September read.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity has set a 10 November deadline for unregistered NGOs to register to comply with the proposed legislation. Not registered NGOS are liable to face closure or criminal prosecution.
Rights groups have repeatedly tried to negotiate with the government to postpone the deadline until the issuance of legislation that complies with the constitution and Egypt’s international obligations. However, the government stated that “the postponement of the deadline is not open to debate”.