Eleven human rights organisations voiced scepticism over the official Egyptian response to Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations of Egypt’s rights record before the UN. The organisations say that, despite government acceptance of most of the recommendations, the “practices prove the contrary”.
In a UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva Friday, Egypt’s representatives stated that Egypt has fully accepted 224 and partially accepted 23 of the UPR’s 300 recommendations.
In the UPR session last November, 122 countries outlined a set of human rights recommendations to Egypt focusing on rights violations highlighting the right to peaceful assembly and the right to association.
The rights groups include the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS); the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR); Nazra for Feminist Studies; the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE); and the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR). The groups said the number of recommendations submitted in the November session is “nearly double the number received by the Mubarak government in 2010”.
In a joint statement Friday, the rights groups said that in terms of actual practice, over the past few months, human rights saw “clear violations that are irreconcilable with Egypt’s stated understanding and acceptance of the international recommendations”.
Egyptian officials said at the Friday meeting in Geneva that Egypt’s current constitution is “a victory for the goals of the revolution”, adding that it supports human rights and dignity.
They added that Egypt does not support some of the recommendations because “they are in contradiction to the current Egyptian constitution”, and that some of them are based on “incorrect claims”.
For its “partial acceptance” of some of the recommendations, Egypt stated that it accepts the recommendations, “but differs on means of implementation” and the time period set out for implementation.
The rights NGOs expressed “regret” that “there is still no effective communication with rights groups on improving the status of human rights, including discussions of the UPR recommendations”. They also asserted that “several members of the Forum of Egyptian Independent Rights Organisations invited the government to discuss the first UPR session and the recommendations submitted to Egypt, but these invitations went unanswered”.