EU pressure needed on Egypt’s human rights
(Brussels, 13 November 2012) Amnesty International has urged the first EU-Egypt task force to emphasise human rights when it meets in Cairo today. The dialogue offers the European Union a key opportunity to recast its relations with the Middle East and North Africa by placing greater emphasis on respect for human rights and the rule of law.
“This is a prime opportunity for the EU to make human rights a priority in its relations with Egypt’’, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. ‘’This dialogue is an important advance in bilateral relations, especially given the prominence assigned to meetings with civil society. We expect it to address the many past and present human rights violations in Egypt.”
Amnesty International has focused on the need to address the continuing impunity of state officials for abuses committed during ‘25 January Revolution’ and the February 2011-June 2012 rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, as well as three decades of unresolved human rights violations under former president Hosni Mubarak. Two reports released by the organisation in October 2012, Brutality unpunished and unchecked: Egypt's military kill and torture protesters with impunity and Agents of repression: Egypt's police and the case for reform, document the numerous human rights violations and abuses committed by the army and security forces.
Other human rights concerns in Egypt include the continued detention of some 1,100 civilians imprisoned following unfair military trials and provisions in the draft constitution which impose restrictions on the right to freedom of expression, including criticising religion, and the political representation and equality of women. Various discriminatory provisions in the family status and penal codes create scope for domestic violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and honour-related crimes to continue unabated. Amnesty International sees women’s participation in public life as a key factor in redressing inequality.
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