Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights held today, Friday, September 30, 2022, a symposium entitled Human Rights in Egypt: In the Light of the UPR Mid-Term Report’, at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, on the sidelines of
the activities of the 51st session of the Human Rights Council. The symposium was attended by several representatives of international missions, civil society organizations as well as human rights experts, and media professionals participating in the 51st session of the Council, which kicked off on September 12 and will continue until October 7, 2022.
During the symposium, Maat presented the report it prepared, which monitored and documented the human rights situation in Egypt over the past two and a half years, precisely since the UPR 3rd Cycle, from November 2019 until June 2022. By presenting the report, Maat seeks to assess the progress made in the implementation of the commitments that the government has voluntarily accepted, highlight the commitments that have not yet been implemented so far, and provide a set of recommendations to the Egyptian government.
The report indicated that Egypt has made progress in some files, especially about civil and political rights, given the launch of the national strategy for human rights, the initiation of the National Dialogue, the reactivation of the Presidential
Pardon Committee, the near closure of Case no. 173 of 2011, known as the “NGO Foreign Funding Case”, and the issuance of Associations Law and its implementing regulations. With regard to the political empowerment of youth, the report indicated that the state has taken commendable steps in this regard, 60% of the newly appointed leaderships, which number is 39 governors and deputy governors, are youth.
During the symposium, Ayman Okeil, the international human rights expert and President of Maat, said that the main objective of establishing the UPR mechanism is to help governments improve human rights conditions and to engage civil society in the process of implementing the recommendations voluntarily accepted by the government. This process would strengthen the relationship between state institutions and civil society institutions, and allow both parties to work seamlessly hand in hand to achieve a shared objective; that is developing a national plan to promote human rights situation, such as the National Strategy for Human Rights launched by the government in September 2021.
Okeil stressed that there is still an opportunity to fulfill the remaining pledges to improve the human rights situation in Egypt. However, this is only possible through the concerted efforts between the executive, legislative and judicial authorities and the national human rights bodies and civil society organizations so that these recommendations are implemented on the ground through the implementation of the axes of the national strategy, which aims to advance human rights in Egypt.
For her part, Nourhan Mustafa, Director of the International Humanitarian Law Unit at Maat, pointed out that the file of men’s rights in Egypt has witnessed positive developments in recent years, especially concerning women’s empowerment and their participation in political life, in conjunction with the endeavors to promote gender equality at the practical levels, by restructuring the institutional and policy framework to ensure eliminating discrimination against women and promoting gender equality. Women’s rights were among the priorities of the national strategy for the empowerment of Egyptian women, among other strategies to combat violence against women, and female genital mutilation and prevent human trafficking.
During the symposium, Roberto Caputo, an Italian researcher and member of the Peacemakers Forum, presented the pillars of the recommendations made to Egypt and the underlying themes. Furthermore, he stressed that the UPR helps implement the sustainable development goals, as the primary goal of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and all its bodies and mechanisms, including the review mechanism, in ensuring the implementation of the sustainable development goals in a manner consistent with international human rights standards.
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