The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) formed a delegation to take part in the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva in line with its responsibilities and commitments as one of Egypt's leading Human Rights entities and as an NGO with special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The delegation was composed of Dr. Hafez Abu Seada the president of EOHR, Mr. Essam Shiha the Secretary General of EOHR and Mohamed Gamal Osman the International Relations Coordinator of EOHR. The delegation undertook its tasks in Geneva in the period between the 11th of March 2018 to the 21st of March 2018.
EOHR held 5 parallel events at the United Nations Office at Geneva. The events were held in cooperation with the Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) in which EOHR is a member. 3 of those events discussed the human rights situation in Qatar and the plight of the Al Ghofran clan which has been subjected to severe persecution by the Qatari government since 1996. The Qatari government over the past 22 years has stripped over 6000 Ghofrais of their citizenships, and many of those 6000 remain stateless to this day. EOHR and AFHR hosted over 12 members representing the Ghofran clan in Geneva and they were given podiums through which they can relate their story to the world at both the UN office in Geneva and the Swiss Press Club. EOHR on those same events at the UN and the press club shed light on Qatar's role in supporting extremist terrorism in several Arab states and called upon the international community to put an end to Qatari violations of international law, and human rights abuses. The events on Qatar included several key speakers among them representatives of Al Ghofran, Sarhane Saadi the Secretary General of AFHR, Hafez Abu Seada, Essam Shisha, Richard Burchill the director of TRENDS and member of the board of AFHR and Abdul Aziz Al Khamis a renowned Saudi journalist and public figure.
The 2 remaining parallel events discussed different subjects. One of them was held on March 20th 2018 under the title Human Rights in Occupied Palestine: the legality of the annexation of East Jerusalem. The speakers at this event were Dr. Hafez Abu Seada, Mr. Essam Shiha, Mohamed Gamal Osman, Sarhane Saadi and Mr. Zakaria Odeh the Executive Director of the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem. The event was also attended by figures of great repute in the Arab world among them Osama al Kawasmi a prominent Palestinian Human Rights activist and Mrs. Fafa Zarouki the director of Algeria's national human rights institution. During the event all speakers deemed Israel's annexation of colonization of East Jerusalem a blatant violation of international law, and the negative catastrophic impact of this annexation on the rights and freedoms of Palestinians living in the city were displayed to the audience which included journalists, human rights activists and diplomats. The last parallel event EOHR held was on March 21st under the title Human Rights and Terrorism in Egypt: Threats & Challenges. The Speakers were Hafez Abu Seada, Essam Shiha, Sarhane Saadi and Mohamed Gamal Osman. During the event the speakers shed light on terrorism in Egypt and presented findings of EOHR's and AFHR's joint terrorism observatory which documented around 2500 fatalities due to acts of terror in Egypt between 2013 and 2017. And also presented evidence that Qatar actively supports violent groups that engage in acts of terrorism in Egypt. The speakers also criticized the government of Egypt for their constant human rights abuses in its war on terror and all have stressed that combating terrorism effectively cannot take place without upholding human rights values and freedoms.
Finally, EOHR accepted an invitation to meeting between NGO representatives and the president of the human rights council and permanent representative of Slovenia at the United Nations Ambassador Vojislav Šuc. Mohamed Osman International Relations Coordinator of EOHR participated in the meeting which took place on March 16th on behalf of the organization.
EOHR's 10-day mission to the human rights council was fruitful and productive and was well received by many circles in Egypt and the Arab World. EOHR looks forward to intensify its activities on regional and international scales to duly serve the universal causes of human rights.