The Forum of Independent Egyptian Human Rights NGOs, which is made up of 19 rights organizations, presented to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights its report on the situation of human rights in Egypt over the last four years. This report was prepared to ensure that the input of human rights NGOs is taken into account during the preparation of the report that the OHCHR is scheduled to present on the occasion of the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Egypt, which will take place between October 27 and November 7, 2014. This will be the second time that Egypt undergoes the UPR process; Egypt’s first UPR took place in February, 2010.
The UPR is one of the mechanisms established by the United Nations to protect human rights in its member states. In the context of the UPR, the human rights practices of each member state of the UN are reviewed once every four years. These reviews consist of reports prepared by the UN and by its member states regarding the situation of human rights in the countries under review. Based on these reports, the UN presents recommendations to the states under review. By announcing its acceptance of these recommendations, the state under review commits to ensuring their implementation throughout the period until its next UPR.
The information included in the reports prepared by the UN in the context of the UPR mechanism comes from three sources: The first source is a report presented by the state under review, the second is a report which includes a compilation of information from various UN bodies, which cover all human rights, and the third is a report presented by the OHCHR, which consists of a summary of the reports submitted to it by civil society organizations and national human rights institutions.
In this context, the Forum of Independent Egyptian Human Rights NGOs submitted its report in mid-March, the time specified for such reports to be submitted to the OHCHR. The Forum includes the following organizations: Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Arab Network for Human Rights Information, Andalus institute for tolerance and anti-violence studies, Appropriate Communications Techniques for Development (ACT), Arab Organization for Penal Reform, Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement, Egyptian Coalition for the Rights of the Child, Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, Egyptian Foundation for Advancement of the Childhood Condition (EFACC), Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance, Hisham Mubarak Law Center, Human Rights Association for the Assistance of Prisoners, Human Rights Legal Assistance Group, Misryoun Against Religious Discrimination (MARED), Nazra for Feminist Studies, New Woman Foundation, Land Center for Human Rights.
The report focuses on the overall state of human rights in Egypt since Egypt’s first UPR in 2010 and discusses the relevant developments over this period. It sheds light on the manner in which the successive governments which have come to power in Egypt over this period have dealt with the recommendations to which Egypt committed itself during its first UPR.
Referring to a number of documented cases, the report discusses in detail the extent to which the successive governments in Egypt have respected human rights, including the right to life and economic and social rights, as well as how these governments have dealt with the economic crises experienced by the country.
The report further considers developments related to the right to political participation which have occurred over this period. It also discusses the practices of the security bodies, which were the focus of many of the recommendations from Egypt’s first UPR, drawing attention to the critical importance of establishing accountability mechanisms in order to ensure that those responsible for violations are identified and held to account.
The report includes an examination of the state of fundamental freedoms in Egypt, including the freedom of association, press freedoms, the freedom of opinion and expression, and religious freedoms as well as minority rights, and academic freedoms. Finally, the report includes sections dealing with the women’s rights, including how the state has dealt with the participation of women in the public sphere, and children’s rights in Egypt.