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EGYPT

UNDER REPRESSION

SCAF violations of the civil and


political rights of Egyptian society
CALL TO THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY: Policy proposals

January 2012

The INSTITUTE FOR ACTIVE NONVIOLENCE (INA) promotes international Peacebuilding


actions in conflict situations. Through a global network of experts and activists in the Middle
East, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, the Institute supports nonviolent movements
working for change and social transformation. INA is part of Nova-Social Innovation.
SOLIDARIDAD INTERNACIONAL is a Development NGO that works from 1986 in Latin
America, the Mediterranean and Africa promoting human development in partnership with
CSOs, networks and civil alliances as well as strengthening the participation and mobilization
of the civil society and citizens.
PATRIR is a global peacebuilding organisation working in partnership with civil society,
governments and the United Nations to provide expert support to mediation and peace
processes. PATRIR works in transition processes to strengthen inclusive democratic
participation and ownership by national civil society and governments.

Published in 2012 by
The Institute for Active Nonviolence, Solidaridad Internacional and PATRIR
Original language: English

Barcelona (Spain), Madrid (Spain), Cluj (Rumania)
Instituto para la Noviolencia Activa, Solidaridad Internacional and PATRIR
Cover photo: Woman shows armament used against protesters
Tahrir Square. November 2011 Nicols Salazar-Godoy
Framework: The fact-finding mission to Egypt was implemented between the 2nd and the 10th of
December 2011. Twenty-eight analyst and civil society representatives were interviewed during this
short period after an intensive literature review on current human rights violations in Egypt. The main
organizations contacted were: Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Nadeem Centre for
the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence, Nazra for Feminist Studies, Alliance for Arab Women,
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, El-Masry AlAyoum, The Egyptian Association for Community
Participation and Enhancement, Egyptian Feminist Union and several mainstream local and
international media, grassroots activist, bloggers and film makers. Their analysis/ opinions are not
necessary reflected in this report.
Legal Deposit: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial
Non-Derivate works 2.5 Spain licence

INDEX

0. Executive summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . >>4


1. Purpose of this policy paper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .>>4
2. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .>>5
3. Main findings:

BANNING FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION, STRIKE AND ASSEMBLY.


TORTURE AGAINST PROTESTERS.

. . . . >>6

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . >>7

MILITARY PERSECUTION OF DISSENT.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .>>8

DISPROPORTIONATE VIOLENCE AND NEGLIGENT USE OF ARMS.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION THREATENED.

. . . . >>9

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . >>10

RISING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN AND MINORITIES.

. . . . . >>11

4. Demands to the international community. . . . . . . . . . . . . . >>12

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
Faced by a rising tide of violence and arbitrary arrests against Egyptian civil society,
protesters and social movements, the researchers identified the need to present key
findings on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) violations of Civil and Political
Rights as part of an attempt to quash the social protest and keep military control over the
Egyptian institutions. This report sets six key findings, based on the reports and meetings of
the INA with leading Egyptian civil society representatives during the first week of December
2011. The developments after the INAs fact finding mission confirmed even more these
findings.

Rights of freedom of association and peaceful assembly are currently under threat in
Egypt. Civil society is under intimidation of the SCAF and a new law criminalizes going
on strike and other forms of peaceful protest.

Protesters are facing today processes of unfair detention and torture. Those activities
are being committed with de facto impunity.

Almost 12.000 civilians were arrested and brought before unfair military courts in Egypt
since the start of the 25 January Revolution. Military legal persecution has ben used as
a political tool for repressing the right for peaceful assembly, freedom of association and
of expression. Dissent is today persecuted by the military in Egypt.

Egyptian Security forces are using illegal, disproportionate, excessive and lethal force to
disperse peaceful demonstrations.

Criticizing the SCAF is today persecuted by the military in Egypt. Military prosecutors
have questioned journalists, bloggers and activists. Newspapers have been confiscated
and television studios have suffered raids.

Women and religious minorities continue to face widespread discrimination in law and
in practice. The expectations raised during the uprising about a major equality have
been disappointed.

PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY PAPER:


Based on the findings and CSOs demands and recommendations recorded in this policy
paper, it presents a suggested plan of action directed to the International Community,
framed on the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, in order to
contribute to stop the current wave of repression against the Egyptian civil society.
It is not intended to offer a legal analysis of all the violations committed by the SCAF under
the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Rather, the purpose of this
paper is to research and record key findings and rights-based demands of the Egyptian Civil
Society, with updated information, in order to call for the urgent mobilization of the
International Community.

INTRODUCTION:
Egyptians started to vote on November 28th in their first elections since the 25 January
Revolution and the fall of Hosni Mubarak. The rest of the Middle East and North African
Countries (MENA) is watching carefully the results and the process, especially in the
countries facing transitions of power, turmoil and protests.
On the edge of this historic momentum, ta joint mission of the Institute for Active
Nonviolence and Solidaridad Internacional travelled to Egypt for a Fact Finding Mission in
order to assess the level of achievements of the demands of the Egyptian Civil Society from a
rights-based approach. Our goal was not to evaluate the implications of the victory of one or
another political party, but to collect information on the Human Rights abuses and violations
and to raise awareness among the International Community. The result of this mission is the
current report: Egypt under repression.
The name of this report summarizes our main conclusion: the electoral process, presented
like the first democratic parliamentary elections in Egypt in decades has been eclipsed by
the human rights abuses of the countrys military rulers. Most of the hopes that motivated
the Revolution are today fainting under the ongoing attacks towards civil society and
repression of protesters. The SCAF, which assumed power when former President Hosni
Mubarak was ousted on 11 February, had stated they would oversee a peaceful transition of
authority within a free and democratic system (Statement of the Supreme Council of the
Armed Forces, 12 February 2011). However, before the November elections to the Peoples
Assembly and the messages spread by the Egyptian state television, reality is that the SCAF
has arbitrarily restricted human rights, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly
and association that are instrumental to ensuring free debate of social and political issues.
Criticism of the authorities or of the pace of reform has been ruthlessly suppressed. Military
courts have imprisoned thousands of civilians. Military prosecutors have summonsed,
interrogated and ordered the detention of those who criticize the army. Military forces have
used unnecessary or excessive force to disperse demonstrations.
It has been ten months since former Vice-President Omar Suleiman announced the fall of
Hosni Mubarak and the news was celebrated by millions of Egyptians, including many
hundreds of thousands protesting in Cairos Tahrir Square. The announcement came with
the news that he had handed power to the SCAF, headed by his former Minister of Defense,
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. Ten months after that announcement, the
conclusions of the Institute for Active Nonviolence are that the jubilation of that moment,
and the decision of the armed forces not to shoot at protesters during the uprising, obscured
the fact that the country was still by default under military rule. And that it continues to be
almost a year later, although the SCAF has promised power will be handed to an elected,
civilian government. Nowadays the euphoria of the uprising has been replaced by fears that
one repressive rule has simply been replaced by another.
In the recent times, the number of civilians transferred to military courts has decreased and
some cases were transferred to civilian tribunals. The pressure of civil society organizations
and movements has contributed to this change of practices and shows how important is to
keep the social mobilization alive. It should encourage the International community to
support activists and human rights defenders in their effective struggle.

1. BANNING FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION, STRIKE AND ASSEMBLY


Rights of freedom of association and peaceful assembly are currently under threat in Egypt. Civil
society is under intimidation of the SCAF and a new law criminalizes going on strike and other
forms of peaceful protest.
As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Egypt is
bound to uphold freedom of association and peaceful assembly.
Facing an increased criticism and social mobilization from the Egyptian Civil Society, the
SCAF is currently promoting and maintaining a strict legislation on registration, funding and
regulation to restrict the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) activities and several attempts of
peaceful assemblies and protests are banned and persecuted. There are several evidences
that the constitutional declaration, the SCAF tactics of smearing, intimidation and
investigation on Civil Society amounts to a policy of repression towards civil society rather
than being isolated cases of individual judgment.
Some of the key findings on which these declarations are based on:

The same Law on Associations (Law 84 of 2002), approved under Hosni Mubarak regime
is still active and is under implementation.

On 6 July, the Minister of Solidarity and Social Justice warned NGOs against accepting
foreign funding and announced that a committee had been formed to investigate it. 1

On 12 July, the Minister of Planning and International Co-operation instructed the


Ministry of Justice to investigate foreign funding of civil society in Egypt.

A list of 37 national and international NGO operating without appropriate registration


was leaked by El-Fagr newspaper on 22 September.

The bank accounts of NGOs have come under close scrutiny by the Egyptian authorities.
In early August, it was reported that the Central Bank of Egypt had instructed banks to
provide information about the financials of NGOs.

A ministerial investigation has been launched into the registration and funding of
human rights organizations, and the state security prosecution is reported to be
investigating organizations for alleged treason and conspiracy.

Law 34 of 2011, decreed by the SCAF in April, effectively criminalizes any form of protest
that the authorities deem to have obstructed the work of any state institution, or public
or private workplace. On 7 June 2011, five workers at the Egyptian General Petroleum
Corporation were arrested and charged after they participated in sit-in protests in front
of the Ministry of Petroleum after they had been sacked2

On 30 December 2011, police and military forces stormed the offices of the Arab Center
for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession, the Budgetary and Human
Rights Observatory, and other international human rights institutions3. Since then many
NGO offices remain closed for fear of new raids.

http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/09/26/egypt-government-moves-restrict-rights-and-democracy-groups
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/053/2011/en/47be269e-b67a-42f4-835b787f91044e04/mde120532011en.pdf
3 http://eipr.org/en/pressrelease/2011/12/30/1333
2

2. TORTURE AGAINST PROTESTERS


Protesters are facing today processes of unfair detention and torture. Those activities are being
committed with virtual impunity.
Egyptian Constitutional Declaration states that citizens who are arrested or detained must
not be abused in body or mind, and have the right to a fair trial. In practice, torture of
detainees continues to be widespread in Egypts police stations, prisons and detention
centers used by the military.
The arrest and detention by the armed forces began after troops were deployed in Cairo,
Suez and Alexandria on 28 January. Many of those arrested, including peaceful protesters,
were subjected to arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment and tried before
military courts. The armed forces said that those arrested were detained on suspicion of
participating in looting or damaging public or private property, or other criminal activities.
Some of those arrested declared that they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated. Moreover,
the military trials and the sentences imposed to the prosecuted civilians are not subject to a
general military law, but depend on the commanding officer responsible for each area.
Some of the key findings on which these declarations are based on:

In September, a video was published on the Internet showing officers beating and
torturing Hassan Hassan Mohamed and his brother El Sayed. The video, which was
reportedly filmed in July at Kafr El-Kordy police station in El-Dakahlia governorate, north
of Cairo, and published on video-sharing site YouTube, shows three handcuffed men in
a room surrounded by uniformed army and police officers. The SCAF ordered an
investigation, but no members of the security forces were held to account.4

No independent, impartial and thorough investigations are known to have been


conducted into allegations or complaints of torture, and inquiries announced by the
armed forces have not resulted in bringing members of the security forces to justice.

After army officers violently cleared Tahrir Square of protesters on 9 March, 174 persons
were held in military detention at a Cairo Museum annex, among them 17 female
protesters. There, they were handcuffed, beaten with sticks and hoses, given electric
shocks in the chest and legs. The women were taken to the Military Prison in Heikstep
where they were subjected to strip searches in a room with soldiers standing outside
open windows and doors. Seven female protesters who said they were virgins were
forced to submit to virginity checks by a man wearing a white coat. A senior Egyptian
general later justified the abuse to CNN saying that the women were not like your
daughter or mine. These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters.

On 16 December, military personnel moved in to clear a sit-in outside the cabinet


buildings, burning tents and beating protesters with sticks and tyres. The armed forces
went on to use live ammunition and shotguns against protesters. Video footage, shows
harsh and prolonged beatings and indicates that military police were using excessive
force gratuitously, with the aim of punishing demonstrators rather than maintaining law
and order. A video of military police dragging two women, one of whose clothes had
been torn off, along the ground before severely beating them has been circulated5


4 http://www.publicserviceeurope.com/article/1159/egypts-revolution-careering-off-the-rails
5 http://www.amnesty.org/zh-hant/node/28853

3. MILITARY PERSECUTION OF DISSENT


Almost 12.000 civilians were arrested and brought before unfair military courts in Egypt since the
start of the 25 January Revolution. Military legal persecution has been used as a political tool for
repressing the right for peaceful assembly, freedom of association and of expression. Dissent is
today persecuted by the military in Egypt.
Trials of civilians before military courts are fundamentally unfair and breach a number of fair
trial safeguards. These include the right to a fair and public hearing before a competent,
independent and impartial tribunal established by law; the right to have adequate time to
prepare a defense; the right to be defended by a lawyer of ones choosing; and the right to
appeal against conviction and sentence to a higher tribunal. The Military alleges that the
majority of military trials were convicted of criminal charges. Many convicted have been
charged with insulting the army or breaking the curfew summonsed by the Military
Prosecution and therefore sentenced to terms of imprisonment.
Some of the key findings on which these declarations are based on:

On 10 April, 26-year-old blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad was sentenced by a military court
to three years in prison for his criticism of the Egyptian militarys use of force against
protesters in Tahrir Square and his objection to military service. In October, a military
appeals court ordered the retrial of Maikel Nabil Sanad, and he continues to be
detained. He was transferred to Abbasseya psychiatric hospital on 23 October. Maikel
Nabil Sanad is reportedly under pressure to apologize for his writing.

On 1 March, 32-year-old Amr Abdallah Al-Beheiry was sentenced by a military court to


five years in prison on charges of breaking curfew and assaulting a public official. He
was arrested on 26 February when military police and the army forcibly dispersed a
protest outside the parliament building in Cairo. During the crackdown, many
protesters were arrested and subjected to beatings and electric shocks. All were later
released, but Amr Abdallah Al-Beheiry was rearrested shortly afterwards apparently
because protesters filmed his injuries. His trial lasted just minutes and the military court
refused to allow the lawyer his family had chosen into the session, instead assigning its
own lawyer to the case. Amr Abdallah Al-Beheiry is currently serving his sentence in
Wadi El-Natroun Prison, where he has been placed with prisoners convicted of murder,
drug-trafficking and other serious crimes. A military court session to examine the appeal
he lodged against his sentence has been scheduled for 27 December 2011, according to
his lawyer.6

On 30 October, 30-year-old prominent blogger and winner of a Reports without


Borders Award, Alaa Abd El Fattah, was arrested on questionable charges of inciting
violence against the military during the October 9 Maspero Demonstrations. He is facing
a military trial. The UN Commission for Human Rights called for his release.7 On Sunday
25 December 2011 a judge representing the public prosecutors office ordered the
release of Alaa Abd El Fattah to his residence were he is prohibited from traveling.


6 http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/egypt-military-court-toying-life-jailed-blogger-2011-10-13
7 http://english.ahram.org.eg/~/NewsContent/1/64/25533/Egypt/Politics-/Alaa-Abdel-Fattah-Portrait-of-a-

revolutionary.aspx

4. DISPROPORTIONATE VIOLENCE AND NEGLIGENT USE OF ARMS


Egyptian Security forces are using illegal, disproportionate, excessive and lethal force to disperse
peaceful demonstrations.
Demonstrations by all sections of Egyptian society have continued since January protests.
Fridays in particular have seen mass protests expressing continued public anger at the slow
pace of political and human rights reform. As the months have passed, these demonstrations
have increasingly been staged against the SCAF. In turn, protesters have themselves become
a target of the armed forces. On key occasions, security forces, including soldiers, military
police and the Central Security Forces, have been deployed to suppress demonstrations.
They have used tear gas, batons, rubber bullets and live ammunition to forcibly disperse
protesters, as well as driving armored vehicles into crowds. There is evidence that groups of
armed civilians have been used by the security forces to attack demonstrators. Egyptian
security forces are believed to be using a powerful incapacitating gas against civilians.8
Some of the key findings on which these declarations are based on9:

On 9 April the Egyptian military used excessive force to disperse demonstrations in


Tahrir Square. At least two protesters were reportedly killed. The army used sticks,
electric batons, shot in the air and drove armored vehicles into the protest. 10

On 23 July, over 100 people were reportedly injured in Cairos Abbasseya district after a
protest march towards the Ministry of Defence was blocked by the Central Security
Forces and military police. Protesters also came under attack of groups of people.

Violent protests around the Giza Security Directorate on 9 September resulted in a


confrontation with security forces which left three people dead and 130 arrested.

On 9 October, a protest organized by Copts against religious discrimination around the


state television building, Maspero, in Cairo, was violently dispersed by the security
forces. 28 people, including one soldier, were killed in the crackdown. The investigation
found that 17 of the deaths around Maspero had been caused by armored vehicles.

In mid-November clashes started in Tahrir Square after security forces attacked a sit-in of
familys martyrs. According to the health ministry, 31 people were killed, 28 in Tahrir,
when the security forces first resorted to tear gas, rubber bullets and birdshot in a bid to
break up demonstrations. The United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay called for
an independent probe into the killing of unarmed protesters being shot in the head.

On 16 December, 9 protesters were killed during the dispersal of a sit-in at the cabinet
building. After the killings, photographs and video clips clearly exposed abuses faced by
female activists, who were beaten, dragged, and stripped of their clothing.11

On 1 january 2012, General Mohamed Ibrahim, who was appointed few weeks ago in Dr.
Kamal El Ganzourys cabinet, declared to the press that gives police officers a shoot to
kill license and offers bonuses to police officers who shoot and kill thugs12


8 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/23/egyptian-military-teargas-tahrir-square).

Moreover, shipments of weapons from foreign countries are entering Egypt despite protests by harbors customs
workers. http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/527456
9 9 http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/053/2011/en/47be269e-b67a-42f4-835b787f91044e04/mde120532011en.pdf
10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22_1JmY2vtc
11 http://www.cihrs.org/?p=546&lang=en

5. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION THREATENED:


Criticizing the SCAF is today military persecuted in Egypt. Military prosecutors have questioned
journalists, bloggers and activists. Newspapers have been confiscated or prevented from printing
and television studios have suffered raids. The SCAF has created an environment where some
editors and media owners are reluctant to criticize Egypts military authorities. Citizens are taking
the risk of reporting from the demonstrations, uploading videos to the internet and forwarding
news. Youtube and other social networks have become one of the best ways to follow the reality.
The ICCPR guarantees the right to freedom of expression. The SCAF Constitutional
Declaration of March 2011 also enshrines freedom of the press, printing, publication and
media. Despite this, reality is that the SCAF has maintained a legislation that criminalizes
freedom of opinion and expression, and punishes journalists, activists, bloggers and others
for their criticism of the SCAF. Faced with an increasing climate of harassment and
intimidation, some media owners, editors and journalists have avoided crossing the red
lines of national security and criticism of the SCAF. Others have protested symbolically by
publishing blank columns in their newspapers, or suspending their television shows. While
cracking down on independent reporting, the SCAF fully controls state television and has
use it to blame continuing civil unrest on foreign interference and sectarian strife.
Some of the key findings on which these declarations are based on:

On 31 May, blogger and political activist Hossam el-Hamalawy appeared before military
prosecutors, after he criticized the head of the military police during an ONTV talk
show.13

On 2 June, military prosecutors summonsed Al-Wafd reporter Hossam al-Suwaifi and


editor Sayyid Abdel Ati after the newspaper published an article alleging a political deal
between Islamist parties and the authorities. 14

On 19 June, El-Fagr editor Adel Hammuda and journalist Rasha Azb were interrogated
by a military prosecutor and accused of publishing false information, and Adel
Hammuda of lax editorial supervision.

On 14 August, activist and blogger Asmaa Mahfouz was detained and charged with
insulting the military and inciting violence against them after posts she made on the
social media site Twitter.

On 24 July, Dream TV presenter Dina Abdel Rahman was reportedly fired by the station
owner following an on-air argument with a former air-force officer over criticism of the
armed forces.15

On the night of 28 September, an edition of the newspaper El-Fagr was reportedly


confiscated because it contained an article calling for the head of the SCAF not to stand
in the presidential elections.

On 11 September, the Cairo offices of Al Jazeera Mubasher Egypt were raided and
engineer Islam al-Banna was arrested and briefly detained. The raid followed the
stations reporting on violent protests in front of the Israeli embassy on 9 September. 16

12 http://eipr.org/en/pressrelease/2012/01/04/1338
13 http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/hossam-el-hamalawy
14 http://www.cpj.org/2011/06/in-egypt-military-harasses-critical-journalists.php
15 http://uncut.indexoncensorship.org/2011/08/the-sacking-of-dina-abdul-rahman-is-a-threat-to-the-freedom-

of-media-in-egypt/

10

6. RISING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN AND MINORITIES


Women and religious minorities continue to face widespread discrimination in law and in
practice. The expectations raised during the uprising about a major equality have been
disappointed. Religious minorities and women are suffering a rising discrimination.
The visible participation of women and religious minorities in the uprising, remarkably the
Copts, raised expectations both inside and outside of Egypt about progress on womens
rights and improvements on the protection of the freedom of faith after Mubaraks
resignation. These expectations have been disappointed.
The SCAF has cancelled the quota law guaranteeing women seats in the parliament and has
subjected women protesters to forced virginity testing, a practice unheard of under Hosni
Mubarak. Religious minorities continue to face discrimination in law and practice, and
serious communal violence has been exacerbated by the states response; reliance on
military and emergency justice systems to address communal violence leads to further
human rights violations, including grossly unfair trials.
Some of the key findings on which these declarations are based on:

Womens rights activists and organizations who demonstrated on International


Womens Day on 8 March in Tahrir Square were attacked both verbally and physically by
members of a counter-protest and security forces. 17

Women are systematically excluded at almost every level of decision-making. The


committee appointed by the SCAF to draft amendments to the Constitution, consisted
of eight male jurists and not a single woman.

In July, the SCAF removed the quota system for women in the election law it mandated
instead that each political party must include at least one woman on their list-for-voting.
Women representation in trade unions and other public functions has not grown.18

Women who were arrested on 9 March at Tahrir Square were reportedly tortured and
subjected to forced virginity tests. 19 After a case was filled against it, on December, 27
2011, the administrative court issued a decision to stop forced medical tests during
detention especially virgin test.

Discrimination against women in Egypt persists both in law and in practice in most
spheres. The Family Status Code and the Penal Code include discriminatory provisions.
There is an inadequate protection or even knowledge of womens rights in Egypt.

Since 25 January there have been at least six attacks on Coptic Churches and/or clashes
between Muslim and Copts. 20

The SCAF has failed to end discriminatory practices preventing Copts from building
houses of worship or restoring existing ones. Many churches were closed down or
destroyed because the authorities allege they did not get the right permission to be
built or do not fulfill the official requirements or renewed.


16 http://www.cpj.org/2011/09/egyptian-police-raid-al-jazeera-offices-again.php
17 http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0308/In-Egypt-s-Tahrir-Square-women-attacked-at-rally-

on-International-Women-s-Day

18 http://www.en.nazra.org/36-nazras-statement-on-the-continuity-of-applying.html
19 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/31/egyptian-female-protesters-virginity-test-_n_868997.html
20 http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/053/2011/en/47be269e-b67a-42f4-835b-

787f91044e04/mde120532011en.pdf

11

CALL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS


AND POLICY PROPOSALS FOR IMMEDIATE AND MEDIUM TERM
ACTIONS AND MEASURES TO BE TAKEN21:
The following demands are based on the findings recorded in this policy paper and collect
the rights-based requests of the Egyptian Civil Society collected by a research team during
the fact-finding mission implemented between the 2nd and the 10th of December 2011.
These demands are targeting representatives of the Multilateral Agencies, remarkably the
United Nations System, and diplomatic missions presents in the Egyptian Territory, with a
special focus on the embassies and consulates of the European Union.
These demands are framed mainly on the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights
Defenders, the Istambul principles and the Open Forum for CSO Effectivenesss process and
are inspired by current best-practices being implemented in the MENA Region. Contacting
consulates and embassies of the oPt is extremely advisable.
TAKE ACTION TO MONITOR AND REPORT REPRESSION:

Provide periodic reports on the condition of human rights in Egypt. Address the issue of
human rights defenders noting instances of the concerted and politically motivated
persecution of Egyptian Civil Society and protesters.

Coordinate periodic meetings with relevant stakeholders, civil society organizations,


state actors, and international organisations on the ground to support local monitoring
and reporting capacities on human rights violations, through the assessment and
advocacy capacities of institutional frameworks.

Maintain ongoing communication with the leadership of the Egyptian civil society; visit
affected communities and report to diplomatic missions, in order to monitor and assist
the development of local strategies.

TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS:

Issuing official public statements condemning the threats and attacks on the Egyptian
Civil Society, underlining the immediate and serious risk it is facing. Specific action to
protect women-rights facing a raising discrimination is needed.

Public monitoring of military legal proceedings against Human Rights Defenders


detained and prosecuted due to their involvement in the Human Rights promotion, in
order to observe directly whether fundamental legal safeguards are respected.

The establishment of an official rotating mission, for trial observation, with the increased
visibility of observers in mind.

Issuing of dmarches to Egyptian authorities in order to strengthen and protect civil


society and protesters, and bring about an immediate end of repression.

Regularly raising the subject of the legitimate demands of the Egyptian Civil Society
with high representatives visiting the region;

Taking legislative, judicial and administrative measures to protect human rights


defenders against violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse

21 These demands are framed by the paper Ensuring protection European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders

available on: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/16332-re01.en08.pdf

12

discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of their


legitimate exercise of any of the rights referred to the UN Declaration.
TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS:

Raising the persecution of the Egyptian Civil Society in regular meetings between
partner governments and sub- committees on human rights, with a special attention
towards women-rights.

Providing visible recognition of the Egyptian Civil Society and its work through visits to
local organizations, attending press conferences and visiting key imprisoned activists.

Instituting regular joint press conferences exposing and condemning the repression
and clearly stating that the current the facto ruling power, the SCAF, should be held
responsible for any violation committed by state actors.

TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT AND PROMOTE A LEGAL ENABLING ENVIROMENT FOR CSO
AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS.

Act to help suspend the application of the law on associations (law 84 of 2002)
approved under Hosni Mubarak Regime. Promote the independence of the CSO and
social movements as actors in their own right and recognize minimum enabling
environment standards for CSO.

Promote the accountability of the Egyptian Administration and Governments towards


CSOs and civil society. CSOs and social movements play increasingly important roles in
building state-society relationships, democratic ownership and domestic accountability
either at local level, national and regional as well as in the international development
and HHRR architecture.

SUPPORT AND STRENGTHEN ON-GOING DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION IN EGYPT


In addition to these immediate proposals and calls for action to address the urgent human
rights situation in Egypt, this report brings forward several important recommendations for
assisting and supporting the continuing process of democratic transition in the MENA
Region. These recommendations should be read and taken up by international
organizations, agencies and donors active in Egypt to improve support for the Egyptian
people in their transition process:
Respect, Support and Strengthen Inclusive National Ownership of the Transition
Process: External organizations, agencies and foreign governments should respect the
national ownership of the Egyptian people of the transition process. External
organizations and agencies should work to build meaningful, authentic partnershipbased approaches to working with the full spectrum of civil society actors and Egyptian
Government to promote an inclusive democratic transition.
Support Capacity Building for Transition: Transition processes are often extremely
difficult, complex and messy. Egyptian society and state actors have strong capacities in
many areas. External partners, however, should work with them to respond to needs
they identify to provide additional capacity building to state and civil society actors to
effectively address transitions needs.

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Make Relevant Experiences in Transition Available: A key request from many state
and civil society actors in Egypt is to make available relevant experiences in transition
from other countries (in the region and internationally, including south eastern and
eastern Europe, Latin America, South Africa and elsewhere). Egyptians will chart their
own path and not copy experiences or processes from elsewhere, but being able to
know about what has happened in other countries and concrete experiences both
positive and negative can help to inform, support and strengthen the transition
process in Egypt.
Ensure Accountability, Responsibility, Coordination and Coherence Amongst
External Actors and Donors: There has been a flood of external organizations coming
to work in Egypt to support transition process. While Egyptians have offered their
appreciation for this external support, there is strong concern that it should not take over
the process by external actors. Additionally, it is very important for external donors,
governments and UN agencies to ensure their programmes and strategic objectives
reflect the goals and objectives of the Egyptian people for their democratic transition
and to coordinate together to ensure there is not duplication, overlap, or misuse an
abuse of funds and programmes.
To promote and ensure the participation of women: There will be no real democracy
without the participation of women at all levels and processes. Donors, governments
and UN agencies must support the agenda of Egyptian women, promote the presence of
women at the political sphere and contribute to the fulfillment of Womens Human
Rights. Moreover, the process of building democratic institutions and reforming judicial,
security and other sectors must mainstream a gender perspective and take into account
the demands of Egyptian women and their participation.

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