The constitution committee, which is assigned to draft the new constitution after 25th of January, has issued the final draft of the articles in the freedoms and rights chapters. It has published it on the official website of the committee in order to be discussed by the people. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) participates in this discussion and these are our primary review to some of the articles stipulated in the draft.
The rights and freedoms chapter mentioned in the Article no. 50 (after revoking the article no. 12 related to the banning of the imprisonment in the publishing cases). It was noted that the number of the articles of this chapter have almost duplicated in comparison with the 1971 constitution. The reason of such duplication is the merging some of the articles from other chapters and adding more articles, most notably, related to the rights of housing, clothes and others of economic and social rights.
The majority of the articles in the final draft are clearly drafted. The huge efforts exerted in the chapter, to include all the rights and freedoms that the citizen should enjoy, are very clear. We thank who participated in preparing and drafting this chapter of the constitution. In particular, we should high light the positive attitude to add more articles that guarantees number of the economic and social rights, that were ignored by the previous Egyptian constitutions.
Some of the articles are defective because of the use of elastic words or phrases and referring to the law to organize the rights, which grant the relevant authorities space to restrict the rights according to its desire. Some articles are defective also as it exposes clear tendency to a political trend who has the majority in the committee. It is clear in the articles related to the woman rights and its protection from the exercise that could fall in woman trafficking.
It is worthy to be noted that ANHRI has participated in preparing proposal of the articles related this chapter. The said articles were issued by National Coalition for Media Freedom, which was presented to the committee to help. It is ANHRI and all the participants who participated in the proposal to have a huge correspond between a lot of the articles in the final draft and the proposed articles.
Here are some of our notes related to some of the articles of the final draft in respect of the rights and freedom chapter, most of these notes comes from the spirit of the proposals which previously handed to the committee members.
Article no. 4
With the exception of the red hand, no one shall be arrested, inspected, imprisoned, baned from moving or other wise his freedom restricted without the order of the appropriate judge. Any person his freedom to be restricted shall be notified of the reasons in written within twelve hours and shall be brought before the investigations authorities within 24 hours as of the date of restricting his freedom. The investigation shall conduct in the presence of a lawyer. In case of the said person did not have a lawyer, therefore, a laywer shall be appointed to the same. Whoever its freedom restricted or arrested and to others the right to plead before justice, and the procedures and the decision shall be made within a week or it shall be released. The law shall organize the preventive custody period and the reason of the said.
The article ignored the repeated decision to stipulate the right of the detainee or the held person to make a phone call to report to the whoever it desires in respect of the detention of the arrest.
"The freedom of belief shall be absolute, the rituals shall be participated without violating to the public order and the state shall guarantee the freedom of building the houses of worship to the divine religions "in accordance with the law".
The article specified the building the houses of worship to the followers of the divine religions which deemed to be discriminating against the followers of the others' religions.
Restricting the practices of the rituals by the "without violating the public order", which is an elastic expression without specification, that can be used by the authorities to restrict the freedoms of practicing the religious rituals randomly and justifying that by violating the public order.
The freedom of issuing the newspapers with its different types and to be owned by the natural and legal persons in virtue of a notice. The law shall organizes establishing broad cast stations, TV stations and the digital media means.
The article did not stipulate the right of the natural and legal persons in establishing the broad cast stations and let the law maker (Legislator) to grant or ban this right.
Alternative text "the right to own and issue the newspapers and establishing the broad cast and TV stations and the digital media means, shall be guaranteed to the individuals and public and private legal persons. The law shall organize the way to practice this right in order to guarantee the independence of the newspapers and media from all types of the intervention or government control and the monopoly practices.
The citizens have the right to form associations and parties in virtue of a notice as long as the said associations and parties respect the national sovereignty, the same shall have the legal personality and may not be dissolved or dissolve the board of directories of the same without a judicial sentence.
The phrase "as long as the said associations and parties respect the national sovereignty" is unclear and therefore it releases the appropriate authorities power to restrict the right in accordance with any definition related to the national sovereignty and what deemed to be in-respected upon its own discrete.
The freedom of establishing the unions, federations and cooperatives shall be guaranteed and they shall have the legal personality. The law shall organize it establishment on the basis of democracy and its participation in serving the society and raising the efficiency within its individuals and defend their rights. The said unions, federations and cooperatives may not be dissolved or its board of directories without judicial verdict. The professional unions shall be obliged to question its members related to their conduct in practicing their activities in accordance with moral and professional charters and rules.
Contradicting with the previous article of the freedom to establish cooperatives and parties in virtue of a notice, this article restricts organizing their internal law, therefore, the members will not have freedom to set the executive regulations (internal regulations) upon their discrete.
The slavery, enforced work, violating the rights of the women and children, sexual trade and the law criminalize the said.
In the proposed text in the first draft of the appropriate committee in the chapter related to the rights and freedom banned "trading in women or children". The replacement of this clear text by the banning of violation the children and women rights deemed to be a door of not criminalizing the practices classified under trafficking in women and children which include the marriage of the minorities by their guardians.
Working is a right, honor and duty to every citizen. The state shall provide its condition on the basis of the equality, justice and equal opportunities. The official employee shall work to serve people and the state guarantee to make the public posts available on the basis of worthiness without favoritism or referrals. In case of violation of the said it shall be criminalize by the law. The state shall guarantee the fair pay, vacations, retirement, social security, medical care, protect from the work risks and the provisions of the professional safety of the workers in the places of work in accordance with the organizing law. the workers may not be fired unless in the case stipulated in the law. The peaceful strike is a right and shall be organized by the law.
The role of the law to organize the strikes, without banning the rights of the people to exercise it, should have been specified. But unleashing the law to organize the right itself may allow the legislator to ban the strikes of some sectors or categorizes in accordance with the authorities, which could waste that right.
The state shall take the procedures to solidify the equality between women and men in the political, cultural, economical, social life and other fields in accordance with the rules of the Muslim law. The state shall provide the services of Motherhood and Childhood for free. The state shall guarantee to women the medical, social, economical and inheritance rights. The state shall guarantee to women the coordination between the family duties and its work in the society. The state shall grant Women breadwinners, divorced, widowed and whatsoever who are in need.
Restricting the absolute right of the women of total equality to men to the provisions of the Muslim law, without specifying the areas of the restrictions. This will open the door for neglecting the equality in accordance with any jurisprudence views to the legislation that could be chosen by the authorities (legislative or executive). In addition the article imposes on the non-Muslim to depriving their rights in equality in accordance with a law they did not believe in.
This is a summary of a discussion to some of the articles of the final draft of the rights and freedoms chapter in the new constitution. This is our study conducted by us in the frame of a deep societal discussion to this chapter, which is very important in the constitution of the second republic. Therefore, we call that this societal discussion, which shall be applied to all the constitution, should have the appropriate chance of time to be participated by the national institutions whether national, official, parties, rights, unions or whatsoever. In addition to it should be a great opportunity to the public figures of intellectuals of different areas and the people to participate in the discussions through the communication and media means.