3 July 2012

Egypt: Our Rights in 100 Days - the Forum Launches a Campaign to Monitor the President's Human Rights Priorities

press release

Based on the critical role of civil society in defining and shaping the political future of the country, The Forum of Independent Egyptian Human Rights Organizations launched a campaign entitled "Our Rights in 100 Days" to evaluate the performance of the president-elect during his first 100 days in office. The campaign began on Monday, July 2 by sending a memo to President Mohammed Morsi including what the organizations said should be the human rights priorities of the country during the coming 100 days. The contents of the message and the demands of the organizations will be announced at a press conference to be held Wednesday, July 4 at 11 a.m. at the office of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, located at 21 Abd Al-Meged El- Remaly Street - Next to the Egyptian Chamber of Commerce - Seventh Floor - Flat 71 - Bab El Louk - Downtown Cairo.

The 7-page memo began with the observation that the 100-day plan which was promised by the president does not sufficiently address the critical nature of the challenges currently facing Egypt, especially in the realm of human rights. Indeed, the plan neglects human rights issues and fails to present practical solutions to the grave crises which have been created by the transitional period under the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), with the participation of the now-dissolved People's Assembly.

The organizations which signed the memo presented the president with several decrees that he should adopt, as well as others that he should avoid completely and indeed prevent from being passed. In addition, the organizations proposed several directives for the president to issue to the prime minister and the appointed ministers, including instructions to prepare a number of imperative laws to be presented to the new People's Assembly as soon as it is elected. The message also contained a number of recommendations which the president should present to the various institutions regarding their departure from their constitutionally granted powers. Finally, the message elaborated a number of pledges which should be taken by the president himself. This came in the form of 30 demands divided into six sections, presented by the organizations to president Morsi.

In this memo, the organizations demanded a program which responds to the aspirations of the Egyptian people and matches the great sacrifices they made over the decades for the sake of freedom, justice, and human dignity. Such a program should seek to deal seriously with the legacy of human rights crimes, which did not cease with the toppling of Mubarak and some of his ruling figures, and take on the challenges which have been created by the ineffective administration of the country during the transitional period. Such a program requires adopting policies to restore the confidence of broad segments of the Egyptian population who did not vote for the current president for various reasons, including due to their historical fears which were recently revived by the exclusive discourse and practices of segments of political Islam. For this reason, the organizations stated that the realization of their demands would be contingent upon the existence of political will to break with the practices of the past, re-establishment of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, the adoption of a rights discourse favoring the values of a civil and democratic state, and the assurance of the impartiality of the state and all of its institutions in dealing with adherents of diverse opinions, political views, ideologies, beliefs, religions, and doctrines.

This memo is not the only step in the efforts of rights organizations to evaluate the performance of the presidency; rather, this campaign will include precise monitoring of the performance of the president-elect during the coming 100 days and the extent to which the necessary political will is present to prove that the post-revolution presidency will not adopt the same stance which ignored human rights both before the revolution and throughout the SCAF's rule.

During the press conference scheduled to be held by the organizations participating in the campaign on Wednesday, the organizations will review the contents of the memo to President Morsi in detail as well as the mechanisms of communication and participation which may be used to promote adoption of these demands, whether via social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook, by signing the memo, or through taking part in the observation and evaluation processes.

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