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Egypt: United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child adopts key points from CFJ report on child rights

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The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has adopted several key recommendations from CFJ’s report on the state of child rights in Egypt. This development emerged during the 96th session of the CRC’s periodic review, where CFJ highlighted violations against children’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Egypt. The CRC’s findings confirm that Egyptian authorities have failed to comply with numerous provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, resulting in ongoing infringements on children’s freedoms, subjecting them to torture, and other inhumane treatments during detention.


1- Legislation:

The CRC recommends abolishing all discriminatory provisions in Egyptian legislation affecting children, especially within the Penal Code and the Personal Status Law. This echoes CFJ’s call for legislative reform.


2- Right to Life, Survival, and Development:

The CRC expressed deep concern over allegations of children being sentenced to death in mass trials alongside adults, under Article 122 of the Child Law. The committee urged Egypt to strictly enforce the prohibition of the death penalty for anyone under 18 at the time of the crime, as stipulated in Article 111 of the Child Law. The committee also emphasized the need for accurate age determination mechanisms and the review of all death sentences to ensure none were issued against individuals who were minors at the time of their crimes.


3- Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly:

The CRC urged Egypt to conduct prompt, impartial, and effective investigations into claims of excessive force by state agents against children during protests. It stressed the importance of prosecuting and appropriately punishing perpetrators and ensuring full redress for affected children, aligning with CFJ’s recommendations.


4- Right to Privacy and Access to Information:

The CRC called on Egypt to enforce Article 3(c) of the Child Law, guaranteeing children’s right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek and share information.


5- Prohibition of Torture:

Noting the explicit ban on torture in the Egyptian Constitution (Article 52), the Penal Code (Article 126), and the Child Law (Article 116 bis), the CRC voiced concerns about continued reports of children facing torture and ill-treatment by security officials, particularly during pre-trial interrogations and solitary confinement. The committee urged Egypt to prohibit torture, thoroughly investigate allegations, punish offenders appropriately, and ensure proper support and remedies for child victims. It also called for the immediate cessation of solitary confinement for children and criminalizing enforced disappearances, ensuring comprehensive investigations and appropriate penalties for such acts.


6- General Recommendations:

The CRC urged Egypt to expedite the establishment of specialized child courts and prosecutors’ offices nationwide, equipped with adequate resources and trained personnel. It also recommended removing exceptions that allow children over 15 to be tried alongside adults, ensuring legal protections for minors, and raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years. Additionally, the CRC encouraged Egypt to ratify international human rights instruments, cooperate with regional bodies, and consider ratifying the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. It also urged collaboration with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

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