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Special | 130 Organizations Join Forces to Confront Egypt’s Human Rights Crisis at UN

130 organizations join forces to confront Egypt’s human rights crisis at UN

As Egypt looks ahead to another presidential election, the situation of economic and social rights in the country continues to deteriorate and the promises of social justice made after the 2011 revolution remain unfulfilled. Against this worrying backdrop, a large coalition of some 130 organizations is taking the government to task at the United Nations.

Later this year Egypt will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review mechanism for the first time since 2010. Ahead of the October session, a joint report endorsed by 51 non-governmental organizations and 79 labour unions, explaining the desperate state of economic and social rights in Egypt, has been submitted to the UN.

The submission examines the continuing failure of successive governments to meet the recommendations of the Council after the 2010 review and the failure to address the aspirations of the Egyptian people as expressed in popular uprisings since January 2011.

The policy-making of four consecutive governments has consistently refused to confront the root causes of socio-economic inequality that fueled the revolution. A worsening economic crisis, together with widespread corruption, failing public services and a pronounced lack of public participation in policy-making has been met only with ill-conceived austerity measures, short-term fixes based on borrowing, a repressive crackdown on dissent, and the failure to carry out desperately-needed impact assessments.

Most urgently, the failure to address continuing human rights deprivations in Egypt jeopardizes the country’s fragile transition, which will only prove sustainable if the government makes a truly human rights-based development trajectory its number one priority.

The report analyzes the spread of social and economic inequality, addressing the shortcomings of the institutional framework provided by both the newly passed constitution and new and existing legislation. In a country where a quarter of the population lives in poverty, a third are unemployed and three out of every five children are malnourished, government measures to protect rights on the ground are not only absent, but instead are replaced by regressive measures undermining citizens’ ability to access basic entitlements.

As the accessibility and quality of food, housing, health and education has deteriorated, the policy making of successive governments has continued to ignore all demands for corrective measures such as tax reform, the rebalancing of budget allocations, and improved transparency and accountability.

In the submission, NGOs and unions stress the recommendations made by the Council at Egypt’s last review, in 2010, together with the more recent recommendations made by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at its 51st session last November. The coalition urges the State to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and to ensure the enforcement of current national legislation designed to protect economic and social rights. The coalition also elucidates the measures the government needs to take in order to combat discrimination against the most vulnerable. It further offers policy alternatives that would serve maximize the country’s resources, and thereby help tackle deprivations, while simultaneously providing for meaningful transparency and accountability, with effective public involvement in decision- and policy-making.

In run-up to October’s HRC session the Egyptian government will also be required to present a report detailing its efforts to satisfy its international human rights obligations. A third report will meanwhile be submitted by the Council’s own ‘special mandates’ – independent experts charged with assessing particular human rights issues and contexts. After the session takes place, the Human Rights Council will issue a set of recommendations to the Egyptian government.



Organizations & Unions That participated in the UPR report


  1. Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights
  2. Arab NGO Network for Development
  3. Association for Education Support and Development
  4. Center for Economic and Social Rights
  5. Egyptian Center for Civil and Legislative Reform
  6. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
  7. Housing and Land Rights Network- Habitat International Coalition
  8. Nazra for Feminist Studies
  9. New Woman Foundation
  10. Al-Shehab Foundation for Comprehensive Development
  11. Assiut Childhood and Development Association
  12. Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
  13. Association for The Development and Enhancement of Women
  14. Association of Health and Environmental Development
  15. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  16. Care
  17. Caritas Egypt
  18. Community Cinema Initiative – Four Walls Campaig
  19. Cooperatives Movement
  20. Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services
  21. Egyptian Association for  Collective Rights
  22. Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement
  23. Egyptian Association for Comprehensive Development
  24. Egyptian Association for the Development of the Capacity of Children with Special Needs
  25. Egyptian Federation for Construction, Timber and Free Workers
  26. Egyptian Federation for Independent Unions of Civil Aviation
  27. Future Foundation for Development in Aswan
  28. Hawa Future Association for Family and Environmental Development
  29. Helwan Association for The Development of the Community (Bashayer)
  30. Hisham Mubarak Law Center
  31. Hope Village Society for Social Development and Rehabilitation for the Disabled
  32. Land Center for Human Rights
  33. Local Federation of Independent Unions in Port Said
  34. National Lawyers Guild International Committee
  35. New Way Foundation for Peace and Education
  36. Peasant Solidarity Committee
  37. Regional Federation for Independent Unions in Aswan
  38. Regional Federation for Independent Unions in Daqahliya
  39. Regional Federation for Independent Unions in Suez
  40. Ro’ya for Consultancy and Training
  41. Shadow Ministry of Housing
  42. Shomoo El-Amal Association for Child Culture and Development
  43. South Center for Rights
  44. Tadamun: The Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative
  45. Takween Integrated Community Development
  46. Tanweer Foundation for Development and Education in Minya
  47. The International Association of Democratic Lawyers
  48. Woman and Development Association
  49. Woman and Society Association
  50. Youth Association for Development and the Environment
  51. Youth Association for Population and Development


General Union Of Petroleum Stations Workers; Independent Drivers Union- Suez; Independent Syndicate Of Teachers In Daqahliya; Independent Union For Drinking Water And Sanitation Employees; Independent Union Of Electricity Co. Workers; Independent Union Of Port Said Sufficient Production Workers; Independent Union Of Port Said Teachers; Independent Union Of Teachers- Aswan ; Independent Union Of Teachers- Suez; Syndicate For Arbitrators And Consultancy Experts; Syndicate For Employees In Contracting; Syndicate For Giza’s Street Vendors; Syndicate For Local Governance Employees In Daqahliya; Syndicate For Qalyubiya Street Vendors; Syndicate For Real Estate Tax Employees, Aswan;Syndicate For State Department Of Management And Administration Employees- Aswan; Syndicate For State Discipline And Education Employees; Syndicate For State Employees In Youths And Sport Ministry; Syndicate Of Al Azhar Employees; Syndicate Of Courts And Prosecution Employees- Aswan; Syndicate Of General Tax Employees, Port Said; Syndicate Of Port Said Courts And Prosecution Workers; Syndicate Of Port Said Health Insurance Employees; Syndicate Of Port Said Tourism Workers; Syndicate Of Real Estate Tax Employees- Port Said; Syndicate Of State Chemicals Employees; Syndicate Of Suez Canal Authority Employees; Union For Alexandria Construction And Timber Workers; Union For Cairo Architecture And Day Laborer; Union For Cairo’s Construction Workers; Union For Community And Civil Services Workers; Union For Craftsmen In Manzala; Union For Giza Construction Workers; Union For Housewives And Workers In Simple Crafts; Union For Ismailiya Skilled Labor; Union For Menya Mines Workers; Union For Qalyubiya Construction And Timber Workers; Union For Sharqeya Construction Workers; Union For Sohag Mines Workers; Union For South Cairo’s Irregular Workers; Union For Trainers And Training Consultancy Workers; Union For Workers In Daqahliya For Sugar Co.; Union For Workers In Furniture And Meubles; Union For Workers In The Field Of Disabilities; Union For Workers In The Manure Factory; Union Of ‘Afia Oils Workers; Union Of Aimac Paper Co. Workers; Union Of Alico Egypt Workers; Union Of Cairo Construction Workers; Union Of Craftsmen In Mansoura; Union Of East Delta Mills Workers; Union Of Efco. Egypt Oils Workers; Union Of Egypt Steel Co. Workers; Union Of Egyptian Drilling Workers; Union Of Egyptian Wires Co. Workers; Union Of Egypt-United Sugar Co. Workers; Union Of Five-Stars Mills Workers; Union Of Food Aid- Aswan; Union Of Health Science Employees- Aswan; Union Of Helnan Aswan Hotel Workers; Union Of Hydro Power Stations- Aswan; Union Of Land Transport- Aswan; Union Of Market Projects Workers; Union Of Newspaper Sellers; Union Of Port Said Container Co. Workers; Union Of Port Said Egypt-Gas Workers; Union Of Port Said Health Sciences Employees; Union Of Port Said’s Unemployed Workers; Union Of Port Sokhna Workers;Union Of Proper-Line And Polly-Properline Co. Workers; Union Of Sales Taxes Workers; Union Of Salome Fiberglass Workers;Union Of Suez Customs Workers; Union Of Suez Nitrate Co. Workers; Union Of Suez Pesticides Workers; Union Of Suez Petroleum Co. Workers; Union Of Workers In Central Delta For Electricity; Union Of Workers In Labor Awareness And Development- Upper Egypt; Independent Union For Irrigation-Aswan