By: Committee for Justice
Geneva: February 27, 2023
The UN Human Rights Committee is currently reviewing Egypt’s progress in implementing its obligations as a signatory of the ICCPR. The review, which began on Tuesday, is carried out by a committee of 18 independent experts, amid international criticism of the continuation of gross human rights violations in the country.
The Committee for Justice participates in the review of the Egypt, represented by Sarah Sakouti, CFJ’s UN communications officer, who has delivered a presentation in which she explained the reality of the human rights situation in Egypt in light of the continuing patterns of violations inside detention centers, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and torture.
Egypt ignoring the violations:
In its briefing to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, CFJ pointed out that the Egyptian state’s response to the HRC’s list of issues primarily refers to Egypt’s constitutional and legal framework while ignoring the widespread and systematic violations of constitutional rights and the application of repressive laws that effectively criminalize basic freedoms under the law.
CFJ has clarified that with regard to the independence of the judiciary and fair trial guarantees, many individuals are still being tried before the Emergency State Security Court. CFJ noted that during 2021, the Emergency State Security Court sentenced 34 citizens – including human rights defenders and political activists. The Egyptian parliament also enacted several laws that restricted freedom of expression and assembly, such as the Protest Law, the Information Technology Crimes Law, the Press and Media Regulation Law, as well as the Anti-Terrorism Law, passed in 2015, which contains vague and very broad definitions of terrorist acts to the extent that political activists and human rights defenders are charged under this law.
Enforced disappearance and Badr prison:
CFJ has pointed out that Egypt has not yet ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Enforced Disappearance, and its laws do not adequately define or criminalize enforced disappearance. Human rights statistics also showed that cases of enforced disappearance continued in large numbers, as Egypt received a greater number of letters from the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances more than any other country, regionally and globally, since May 2020.
CFJ’s response also addressed the conditions inside the Badr prison complex. Egypt’s response stated that the conditions of Badr are in line with human rights standards, despite the numerous documented violations against detainees there, as pointed out by CFJ.
It is noteworthy that this is the first time in 20 years that Egypt’s record has been reviewed before the Human Rights Committee.