Egypt: Changing prison authority’s name is ‘propaganda’ as rights violations continue
Egypt’s Ministry of Interior’s decision to change the name of the Prisons Authority to the Community Protection Authority will do nothing to change the fact that the government continues to suppress human rights, the undersigned groups have said.
Protection of detainees will not be achieved by changing names of agencies, but rather by implementing laws and international covenants signed by Egypt, which seek to preserve and enhance the fundamental human rights of detainees.
On Monday, August 2, 2021, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior announced the change of some of its sectors’ names to improve its image before civil society and local and international human rights organizations that have repeatedly condemned Egypt’s shameful record in treating detainees.
The ministry decided to change the name of the “specialized police” sector to “traffic and civil protection sector,” the “social security” sector to the “specialized police” sector, and the “prisons” sector to the “community protection” sector, and to change the name “prisoner” into “inmate.”
During the year 2020 alone, the Committee for Justice, one of the groups that endorsed the Article 55 Campaign, was able to document 13, 261 violations, in 153 prisons and places of detention in Egypt, against 7,616 individuals.
The forcible deprivation of liberty topped the violations by about 59% (7843/13261), followed by poor conditions of detention by approximately 24% (3233/13261), and enforced disappearances by 14% (1917/13261). About 8% of the violations were verified, out of the total documented violations (1120/13261).
The documented violations against victims of cases of a political nature constituted 96% of the total violations (12733/13261), topped by arbitrary deprivation of liberty, by 62% (7843/12733), followed by poor conditions of detention, by 22 % of the total violations (2737/12733). CFJ has observed the intentional nature of these violations, committed by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior against the state’s political opponents, in a clear disregard for human rights.
In addition, 101 deaths in detention facilities were documented during 2020, 167 cases of torture, of which 134 were verified, 1930 cases of ill-treatment of detainees/prisoners, 1,242 cases of denial of health care, and 61 cases of punitive expulsion to a distant prison.
The above figures indicate that Egyptian authorities, led by the notorious Ministry of Interior, is attempting to improve its image before the international community and local and international civil society organizations, without any meaningful changes in the approach of treating detainees.
The undersigned organizations and campaigns call on Egypt to respect the international community and civil society organizations, and to refrain from engaging in “human rights propaganda”.
They also called on Egypt to open channels of dialogue with local and international civil society organizations to work on genuinely improving the living conditions of detainees on the ground.
Article 55 Campaign
The Egyptian Center for the Right to Education
Voice of Dungeons (Sawt al-Zenzanah) Online Platform
Their Right (Haqquhum) Campaign