Two Years after the Egyptian Revolution
On January 22, 2013, 12 pm, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) held a press conference for presenting the report entitled "Citizens without Rights, Two Years after the Egyptian revolution" at the headquarters of EOHR. The workshop was attended by professors of law, legal experts, public figures, media specialists, representatives of political parties, NGOs, political and human rights' activists.
The report comes in the framework of the second anniversary of 25th January Revolution, that raised the slogan of "Bread, Freedom and Social Justice" to discuss the development that took place in the field of civilian and political rights, economic and social rights as well. The report is discussing also the legislative development which guarantees human rights that comply with the international standards and covenants of human rights, signed and ratified by the old and current regimes.
Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, head of EOHR, stated that nowadays the human rights issues are subjected to great ignorance in Egypt. Moreover, the democratic transformation process is moving slowly, however the awareness of the human rights' principals got raised during the past two years that followed the revolution.
MR. Abu Seada confirmed that the serious human rights violations that were documented before the revolution of January 25th, 2011 continued. During the second year after the revolution, EOHR in its annual report observed and documented 165 tortured cases in police stations among them are 17 cases died in police stations. EOHR also documented 2533 peaceful sit-ins, which indicates that the Egyptian revolution results do not meet the requirements of the revolutionists. 356 violations for the freedom of expression were documented, including attack of bloggers, journalists and media specialists. Many lawsuits were filed against journalists and media specialists who expressed their points of views and others were filed by ordinary citizens against them for protection of public interests, Hesba. Freedom of access to public information was not guaranteed. Many of the civilians were referred to the military prosecution offices and military courts. Freedom of creation was restricted.
Abu Seada mentioned that the violations and restrictions covered not only the civil and political rights, but also economical and social rights. Following having a civil president to Egypt the economical crises went more serious, prices got raised and the national resources like tourism and taxes became inadequate for covering the essential requirements in addition to continuation of corruption, increase of unemployment and poverty rates and sit-ins calling for economical demands for different Egyptian categories.
Mr. Ahmed Abdel Hafez, vice president of EOHR, stated that the current Egyptian regime handles all the matters exactly like Mubarak regime; it does not guarantee any democratic transformation safeguards. The number of civilians referred to military courts got raised after the revolution, which means that the current regime has not achieved any advancement.
Mr. Essam Sheha, board member of Al Wafd Political Party, stated that the serious violations regarding freedom of expression and assembly got raised. The current regime is now filling many lawsuits of insulting the president and insulting the regime against journalist and media specialist. Some pampered countries can sell their products freely in Egypt which negatively affects the local industries.
The report came with a set of recommendations including:
- Forming a new constituent assembly in which all the Egyptian groups and minorities have to be represented
- The newly formed constitution should guarantee independence of the Egyptian judiciary which maintains fairness and transparency of trials
- Guaranteeing independence of the prosecution general office
- Maintaining the legislative monitoring powers of the Supreme Constitutional Court
- Mentioning the public properties in the constitution as well as the cooperative and private properties
- Mentioning the state commitments regarding minimum and maximum payments
- Mentioning institutionalism in the constitution
- Having a fair electoral system based on the unconditional proportional lists
- Emphasizing women's rights according to the international standards of human rights
Civil and political rights:
Right of personal safety:
- Including articles no. 21 and 22 of the International Convention Against Torture, which allow any person to complain to the UN Torture Confrontation Committee, in the Egyptian constitution
- Cancelling death penalty according to the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights
- Amendment of article no. 126 of the Egyptian penal code that allow security officials to torture people for confession
- Allowing citizens to have defending lawyers while questioned in police stations
- Opening immediate investigation on the complaints submitted by citizens or civil society organizations about people tortured in police stations and prisons
- Inspection missions of the prosecution general office must be sent regularly to police stations and detention centers of all kinds
- Establishment of a new authority including judges, doctors and lawyers for investigating the torture complaints and taking the perpetrators to accountability.
- Training the Egyptian police officers on treating prisoners in accordance with the international human rights standards
Freedom of expression:
- Forming a new authority for taking those who ban journalist and media specialist from reaching public information into accountability
- Cancelling the decision of the Egyptian Minister of Justice that gives seizure power to Azhar officials, which restricts the intellectual freedom
- Stopping taking emergency measures against bloggers and media specialists and including internet as one of the human rights in accordance with the UN Resolutions
- Approving the law for freedom of access to public information
- Committing all the media corporations to declare their fund resources
Freedom of assembly:
- Activation of the constitutional articles related to the rights of demonstration and protesting
- Cancelling the old laws of demonstration and drafting a new one complying with the international standards of human rights
Social and Economic Rights:
- Citizens should be provided with means that enable them to gain main services (Medical Care, healthy and Clean Water), regardless their income or living location in addition to guaranteeing workers rights to strike and expressing their opinions.
- Stopping the progressive rise of prices as well as stopping the continued deterioration of the Egyptian pound's exchange rate, which leads to inflation
- Increasing the minimum wages and salaries in order to link them with actual prices, set a real plan for eliminating poverty and social class diversities in recourses distribution
- Amend the Labor law no. 12, year 2003, to achieve balance among labor interests and entrepreneurs, the freedom of assembly should be guaranteed for labor union and civil society organizations to protect the interests of the workers.
- Calling upon the Egyptian government to sign and ratify the treaties which protect workers' rights, then the role of the Ministry of Manpower should be activated to investigate the complains submitted by workers against businessmen, as well as finding effective means to implement verdicts issued in favor of the workers and protecting the civil and economic rights of part-time employees in both public and private sectors
- Fighting unemployment and creating new job opportunities for graduates in both private and public sectors and protecting the social insurance funds
- Set solutions to stop the continued deterioration of the medical services, Investigating the financial and administrative corruption in the health sector; issuing required regulations for putting state-cost-medication into effect; activating the medical insurance system to cover all the Egyptian citizens, taking into account the low-income citizens amongst others; in addition to providing comprehensive medical services within the medical centers
- Combating private tutoring and guaranteeing free education in addition to allocation of fund for construction of new schools at the rural and remote areas and giving special care to the education reform and scientific research development projects
- Enabling the law income citizens from having suitable and well-serviced housing units and providing evacuated people with suitable compensations
- Giving more powers to the regulatory bodies that combat corruption
- Protection of the state rights while going on privatization programs
- Providing jobless people with Unemployment benefits and development of the social insurance system
- Forming a new authority to handle the workers' emergency cases
- Empowering the professional syndicates