ANHRI: About the formation of the Permanent Human Rights Committee: Human Rights violations have a foul rotten smell that the establishment of further formal bodies to enhance the image would be meaningless

Cairo: 15 November 2018

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) says that the Egyptian government ought to immediately halt the daily systematic human rights violations if it is seriously seeking ways to improve the country’s image whether internally or externally.

No matter how many formal entities we have, they will not help in enhancing the image whatsoever; as flagrant violations have a nauseating smell that won’t fade away unless the violations causing such a smell come to an end.

As tens of thousands of politicians are being imprisoned following trials most of which are unfair, and as prolonged pretrial detention is being turned to a means of punishment, and in light of the prosecution of political activists and the travel bans issued against them, in addition to; restricting the work of parties, closing the public sphere, accusations of breaching the national security and spreading false news being turned into a main charge that is pressed against those with different and critical views, the blocking of more than 500 sites in a police manner, the enactment of laws to prosecute opinion holders even on social networking pages, the continuation of the state of emergency, and the security services’ control of the media and the domination of the one-voice media, not to mention that prosecution and siege of workers in civil society and independent organizations, as well as the travel ban and asset freeze decisions issued against them, the Egyptian Cabinet announces yesterday the establishment of a permanent supreme committee for human rights to respond to allegations made against Egypt in this regard and enhance its image abroad.

By this we have 8 entities that is established to improve an already distorted image, seven of them didn’t succeed in doing so, including (the National Council for Human Rights, the Parliament’s Human Rights Commission, the Human Rights Unit of the State Information Service (SIS), and other units at the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s office); in addition to the support and encouragement of human rights organizations that are complicit in such violations and are only established on a formalistic basis. This aforementioned situation reflects the nature of the current regime and the state’s formalistic approach in dealing with human rights file; by just enhancing its image rather than showing a real respect for human rights.

ANHRI, as it believes that the first way to improve the image of human rights is to put an end to the violations being committed, not through the establishment of further formal entities, which only enhances the state’s image rather than improving the human rights situation, it reiterates the stance took by human rights institutions when the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) was established 14 years ago ” http://anhri.net/press/04/pr040217.shtml” and the demands they made before the Egyptian government to improve the human rights situation and hence cooperate with (NCHR), which didn’t happen, making this governmental council to fail both with regard to human rights and in enhancing the full image.

ANHRI, thus, stresses that the beginning of the process, in case there is a real desire to improve Egypt’s image, relies on the existence of a genuine political will that is based on respect for the Constitution and the rule of law along with; the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience, halting the impunity policy, guaranteeing the freedom of the press and the right to form and maintain civil society and trade unions, providing due process, and putting an end to the prosecution of journalists and the blocking of websites.

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