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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Thursday 17 February (morning)

Country under review: EGYPT

Concerned country - national report

  1. Represented by a 15-member delegation and headed by the Minister of State for Legal and Parliamentary Councils, H.E. Dr Mufid Shihab
  2. National report presented by HE Dr Mufid Shihab

Highlights

  • About to end the state of emergency and replace it by an anti-terrorism law.
  • Effective policies to strengthen the participation of women in political life, i.e. quotas for Parliamentary elections.
  • Criminalization of the practice of female genital mutilation.
  • Human rights training of the police. 16,000 officials trained over the past 4 years.
  • Freedom of belief and worship constitutionally guaranteed.
  • Programmes to raise the quality of education, with a special focus on girls.
  • Measures taken to combat worst forms of child labour.
  • Programmes to fight women’s unemployment and poverty.
  • Children and maternal mortality on the decrease.
  • National plan to establish 2,500 primary care units across the country.
  • Signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion

  1. Member States: 25
  2. Observer States: 28

Positive achievements

  1. Efforts to curtail the practice of female genital mutilation.
  2. Women’s participation in politics.
  3. Sanitation projects, with the goal of providing safe water to 100% of urban areas by the end of 2010.
  4. Literacy programmes and promotion of human rights education.
  5. Human rights institutions such as the National Council for Human Rights and the National Council for Women.

Issues and questions raised

  • State of Emergency in place since 1981
    1. Torture, ill-treatment and secret detention.
    2. Violence against women and children.
    3. Persistence of female genital mutilation.
    4. Discrimination against religious minorities.
    5. Arrests and detention of bloggers and journalists.
    6. Gender gap in education.

    Recommendations

    • Put and end to the state of emergency.
    • Adopt a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to abolishing it.
    • Investigate allegations of torture.
    • Take further steps to fight violence against women and prosecute abusers.
    • Eradicate female genital mutilations.
    • Pass comprehensive anti-trafficking in person legislation.
    • Prosecute those involved in incitement to religious hatred and violence.
    • Investigate human rights abuses against human rights defenders and lawyers.
    • Eliminate all legal provisions and policies discriminating on a religious basis.
    • Take resolute steps to guarantee an open and free press, including on Internet.
    • Amend legislation which inhibits NGOs’ activities and ability to raise finance.
    • Establish an independent Electoral Commission.
    • Reply favourably to the request of visit of the Special Rapporteur on Torture.
    • Ratify the Rome Statute, and the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention against Torture.

    Response of the concerned country

    • State of emergency – Unavoidable measure as terrorist attacks have continued since the 1981 assassination of President Sadat.
    • Death penalty – Applied only for very serious crimes. Executions on the decrease.
    • Discrimination against women – Gender equality is absolute and safeguarded by the National Council for Women.
    • Female Genital Mutilation – Strong commitment to eradicating the practice, counselling services provided to families at risk. 
    • Rights of the child – Child rights are on top of the national agenda with the recent inclusion of a budget for children in the State’s general budget.

    Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on Friday 19 February, as from 15:00

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