5 July 2012

Egypt: Human Rights Committee Violates Freedom of Thought and Religion

press release

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights expresses its severe distress regarding the decline in human rights presented in the drafting of the new constitution of Egypt. Initial indicators point to large decline in the freedom of thought and religion. What seems to be a violation takes place albeit the EOHR's objection to the formation of a committee with a specific dominating political current.

The Human Rights Committee had agreed earlier to have an article that would guarantee the freedom of thought, religion and religious practices for the three heavenly religions and deny practices of non-heavenly religions. Some members of the committee refused this phrasing lest all the drafting of the article be dominated by the Islamic current.

In this regard, EOHR stresses that human rights should be inclusive for all human being. This is highly important given the touristic nature of Egypt as people from heavenly and non-heavenly religions come for tourist purposes. Moreover, workers from countries such as China, Korea and India are present in Egypt working for different companies, practicing non-heavenly religions. Hence, the article with its current phrasing will deny them the right to practice their religion; this would be contradictory to the universal declaration of human rights.

It is worth mentioning that considering a specific religion as that of the state should not lead to the hampering of the rights of minorities to practice their religion as stated in the articles 18 and 27. EOHR calls for the revaluation of the phrasing of the current article in hopes of increasing the inclusivity to include those with non-heavenly faiths.

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