-Statement of european parliament and human rights in egypt: between facts and lies
-“Draya” responds to the claims of the European Parliament’s statement on human rights in Egypt with evidence and proofs.
-“Draya “to the European Parliament: Your statements are false and it is better to confront human right violations in your own countries.
-“Draya” confirms with evidence: the contents of the European Parliament reports are false and contradict human rights work.
The European Parliament issued a statement on 24 November 2022 on the human rights situation in Egypt, which was based on many missteps and allegations without providing any evidence to substantiate their unfounded claims. This statement revealed a clear ignorance of the human rights situation in Egypt and the magnitude of the achievements in this file. it cited several completely untrue information as if those in charge of the report had not considered Egypt’s human rights situation for a long time, and their writings are nothing but mere discourse aimed at distorting Egypt’s image in front of the international community.
the Strategic Forum for Public Policies and Development Studies “draya” issues this report to expose the falsity of what was stated in the European Parliament’s statement with conclusive evidence and documented data, and reflects the non-objective approach to the reality of the situation in Egypt, and this can be addressed through several axes as follows:
First: Brief about the extent to which European Parliament decisions are mandatory.
Second: the most prominent fallacies and their facts
Third: contradiction and double standards
First: Brief about the extent to which European Parliament decisions are mandatory
The statements of the European Parliament are just recommendations that are not binding at all, and are mainly addressed to the institutions of the European Union and not the states, as the European Parliament is not the legislative and oversight institution of the European countries. Each country has its parliament which has a role to oversight it and issue legislation for it, thus the European Parliament concerned with the EU institutions such as “European Commission” and thus oversight of the roles they play. Also The European Parliament and the European Union have no binding role on foreign policy of member states.
According to many experts and political analysts, the statements of the European Parliament adopt this method because the matter is related to the interests of the European parties, and is not related to what they claim of fear for human rights in Egypt, especially since the most countries pay tribute to human rights when they claim that there is a danger facing them, they violated human rights in full view of the world, repeating the famous phrase: “Don’t talk to me about human rights when it comes to national security!”
Second: The most prominent fallacies and their facts
The report includes fallacies with regard to social, religious, environmental and political rights, and this can be explained as follows:
1- Case of emergency
– The fallacy: The state of emergency in Egypt has been applied since its declaration in April 2017, until now.
– fact: The state of emergency was suspended after President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced on 10/25/2021 the cancellation of the extension of the state of emergency in effect throughout the country, after the availability of security and stability in all aspects of the country, and many challenges that were hindering the development process were overcome. Chief among them is the threat of terrorism, so the state no longer needs this law and its exceptional measures.
2- The death penalty, especially for children
-Fallacy: Egypt’s implementation of the death penalty against children.
-Fact: The Egyptian law prohibits, according to Article No. 111 of the Children’s Law, that “neither death nor life imprisonment nor rigorous imprisonment shall be imposed on the accused that did not exceed eighteen full Gregorian years at the time of the commission of the crime.”
The Egyptian legislator generally approved the death penalty to achieve general deterrence in crimes that involve an extremely dangerous degree, and required several guarantees for sentencing with which any possibilities of error may disappear, namely: that the death sentence must be issued unanimously with the opinions of the court (and not by a majority of the opinions of the members of the court), and the necessity of taking the opinion of the Mufti of the Republic (the judgment is invalidated if the court issues it without consulting the Mufti), the necessity of presenting the case to the Court of Cassation to implement its control over all elements of the ruling, whether objective or formal, the need for the President of the Republic to ratify any death sentence issued by a court, whether military or civil, when The verdict has become final, and all means of appeal have been exhausted.
It should be noted here that the execution of the death penalty on the guilty person is consistent with the principles of Islamic law, as it is the main source of legislation in Egypt and judgments are derived from it, and its implementation is carried out according to technical bases that prevent the person being executed from being subjected to psychological or physical pain in the event of its implementation, as it is characterized by mercy in implementation.
3- Accusations regarding Alaa Abdel-Fattah
-The fallacy: He was arbitrarily arrested 9 years ago on baseless charges and without evidence and his family is only allowed to visit him intermittently and following international pressure.
-The fact: Alaa Abdel-Fattah is not arbitrarily detained and is not a prisoner of conscience, as some claim, for the purpose of misleading public opinion. but it is criminally punishablefor having committed a number of crimes that are punishable by lawEgyptian penal code and under the umbrella ofProcedural law that preserves him allhis rights to defend himself and have alawyer to defend him, and he was tried before his natural judge without any exceptional procedure, which means that the issuance of sentences against him was consistent with the guarantees guaranteed to him, and therefore his imprisonment in implementation of those provisions is not considered an arrest, but rather comes in accordance with the provisions of the Egyptian judiciary, which is respected by the world.
It should be noted that Alaa Abdel-Fattah has been charged with committing crimes of incitement to attack public and private property, incitement against police and armed forces, spreading false news and rumors that threaten the security and safety of the Egyptian state, and other crimes. The Egyptian judiciary issued its ruling in Case No. 1228 of 2021, imprisoning him for five years.
4- Charges of arbitrary detention and pretrial detention
-The Fallacy: The statement affirmed the continued arbitrary detention and renewable pretrial detention of tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience in Egypt, in inhuman conditions of detention, depriving them of a fair trial or basic rights, especially the poor conditions in Wadi al-Natrun and Badr prisons.
-The fact: There are no political or opinion prisoners in Egypt. Rather, prisoners are those against whom court rulings have been issued accusing them of committing crimes in the framework of fair trials, or are imprisoned pending investigations conducted by the investigation authorities, according to internationally recognized criminal procedural laws. And that the Public Prosecution, in its capacity as one of the pillars of the judicial authority, has the right to monitor the execution of the sentence and the reason and place of detention, as it has the authority to monitor places of detention and imprisonment to ensure that the place in which execution is appropriate and that there are no persons, whether detained or imprisoned, without a judicial document permitting that, which is what it means that all inmates in prisons or places of detention are under the supervision of the Egyptian judiciary and on a valid basis. For that ” Draya Forum” condemns the statement issued by the European Parliament, stressing that it affects the independence of the Egyptian judiciary and is considered a blatant interference in the work of the judiciary, in which no other authority or any party, whether internal or external, interferes in its rulings, and has no authority over it except the law and the conscience that governs its work.
“Draya Forum” confirms that efforts related to the treatment of prisoners and other detainees have witnessed a number of measures, including changing the punitive philosophy that is in conformity with international instruments and ensures the preservation of human rights and the consequent amendment of the Prisons Act, in terms of the designation and transformation of penal institutions into correctional and rehabilitation institutions for prisoners in real terms like Wadi al-Natrun and Badr reform and rehabilitation centers. This is in addition to expanding pardon and conditional release decisions, as the number of beneficiaries of presidential pardon decisions for the remainder of the sentence and conditional release reached more than 20,000 during the period from September 2021 to August 2022, and financial and in-kind assistance was provided to 10,659 released inmates, and 28,775 cases of inmates families, according to the report of the “National Strategy for Human Rights… A Year of Implementation” issued by the Technical Secretariat of the “Permanent Supreme Committee for Human Rights”, on December 13, 2022.
5- The torture of “Giulio Regeni” and “Ayman Hadhoud”
– Fallacy: The statement confirmed that the doctoral student “Giulio Regeni” and the economist “Ayman Hadhoud” were subjected to torture by the security services until death.
– Fact: The Egyptian Public Prosecution issued statements regarding Regeni and Hadhoud, as follows:
- The Public Prosecution confirmed that it had found firm evidence that members of a gang had committed theft of “Regeni” belongings under duress, as they were found in the residence of one of the members of the gang, and the testimonies of some witnesses supported that, as it was proven from investigations that the gang had committed similar crimes, among the victims was an “Italian” citizen other than “Regeni”, and they used forged documents that attributed them – untruthfully – to an Egyptian security agency in committing their crimes.
- It also confirmed that the perpetrator of the murder is still unknown, and that it will act in the investigation file of the incident by closing it temporarily, while assigning the search and investigation authorities to take all necessary measures to find the perpetrator.
- The Public Prosecution confirmed in its statement issued regarding the death of Ayman Hadhoud that: “On the fifth of last March, the Public Prosecution office was notified of the death of the accused in the hospital he was placed in due to a sharp drop in blood circulation and a stop of the heart muscle. It assigned the health inspector to sign the apparent examination of his body, and it was confirmed that there was no criminal suspicion in his death, and the police investigations also confirmed that there was no criminal suspicion in his death, and the Public Prosecution at that time took the publishing and photographing procedures followed with the deceased to reach their relatives to entertain the body for burial, so two of his brothers attended. Adel and Abu Bakr “testified in the investigations that they had no criminal suspicion of their brother’s death.
6- The ruling issued regarding “Haneen Hossam” and “Mawaddah Al-Adham” was described as fabricated
fallacy: The statement confirmed that Egypt had issued rulings on two influential girls on social media, Haneen Hossam and Mawaddah al-Adham, on fabricated moral charges.
fact: The Public Prosecution has charged both “Haneen Hossam and Mawaddah Al-Adham” with human trafficking, against the background of the spread of immoral videos for each of them, which contain incitement to young girls to work as announcers for a fee, and that the truth of the matter is otherwise, as the real purpose is to practice Immoral acts that do not agree with the values and traditions of Egyptian society as well as the law.
Then the Public Prosecution issued its decision to arrest them, conduct the necessary investigations, and then present them to the judiciary to decide whether or not they committed the acts ascribed to them. Accordingly, rulings were issued against them to establish the charge, then they used their right to appeal the preliminary rulings until final rulings of conviction were issued.
7- Ignoring the state’s efforts to protect women and eliminate violence against them
Fallacy: The statement called on the Egyptian government to take action to eliminate violence against women and to oppose female genital mutilation, etc.
fact: The Egyptian state has made great efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women, most notably the following:
-Launching 27 anti-harassment units in public universities.
-inauguration of 8 medical response units in a number of university hospitals to deal with women subjected to violence.
-Launching a national plan to eradicate genital mutilation (2022-2026). § Issuing the first media code to deal with women’s issues in the media.
-Launching the “Matsketch” campaign through audio and visual advertisements to encourage reporting of harassment.
-Launching the campaign “Your Life is Stations… Don’t Let It Stop You”, with messages about family planning, harassment, early marriage, and others.
– Launching of the “Al-Sakkah Aman” campaign with a number of railway stations, with videos and field teams of volunteers, to raise awareness of forms of violence against women.
-Approval of a draft law criminalizing early marriage for girls.
-Amending the Penal Code to increase the penalty for female circumcision in 2021.
In light of the efforts to confront female circumcision, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics confirmed that the results of the Egyptian Family Health Survey showed that the rate of circumcision among girls from 0-19 years decreased to 14% in 2021 compared to 21% in 2014, a difference of about 7%. The rate of circumcision among women who have ever been married has also decreased, reaching about 86% in 2021, compared to 92% in 2014.
The statement ignored the achievements of the Egyptian state in the file of empowering women on the political, social and economic levels, as it achieved many unprecedented successes during the last 8 years and was strongly present in many leadership positions at the political, economic and social levels, which were not available to it before, but rather Through it, it was able to have the most prominent role in many development fields in Egypt.
The percentage of women’s representation in the Parliament in 2020 reached about 28% of the total number of members of the House, as they obtained 162 seats, which is the largest number in the history of the Egyptian Parliament, and the number of women in the Senate for the year 2020 reached 38 women, or 12.5% of the total members of the House. For the first time, a woman was appointed to the position of deputy senate, and the number of women in the cabinet in the last August 2022 cabinet reshuffle reached about 6 female ministers. This is in addition to the push for women to assume judicial positions in the State Council and the Public Prosecution Office for the first time in the history of Egypt, where 11 female public prosecutors were appointed in the judicial year 2021/2022, and the total number of female judges in the State Council reached about 137 judges, and the number of female members of the Administrative Prosecution Authority reached about Two thousand female judges out of the total number of administrative prosecution members amounting to 4.6 thousand (43% of the percentage of women), and the percentage of female judges in the State Cases Authority reached 20% during 2021. The percentage of women in government jobs witnessed a significant increase, as Egyptian women occupy 45% of the total government jobs (compared to with a global average of 32%.
8- Ignoring the role that Egypt plays in promoting the concept of citizenship
fallacy: At the end of it, the statement called on the Egyptian government to stop discrimination and ensure the de facto equality stipulated in the constitution. The statement identified discrimination against the Coptic minority.
fact: Since President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi came to power, the state has been keen to strengthen national unity as a pillar of building the new republic, and its starting point towards further progress and development, by consolidating the values of justice, equality and citizenship, as well as ensuring rights and freedoms for all citizens without discrimination, and ensuring enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion and belief, and the consolidation of the values of citizenship and dialogue in various public policies in parallel with the fight against intolerance and discrimination.
Thanks to the efforts to promote the values of citizenship, Egypt witnessed an improvement in indicators of societal stability, as it advanced 12 places in the citizenship index issued by US News, to come in the 65th place in 2020, compared to the 69th place in 2019, the 75th place in 2018, and the 77th place in 2017.
The state’s efforts to promote citizenship can be described as follows:
– The national strategy for human rights included freedom of religion and belief and aims to achieve a number of results during the period from 2021-2026, namely: intensifying awareness campaigns, especially among young people, to promote peaceful coexistence and acceptance of the other, implementing more youth initiatives aimed at promoting and supporting the values of citizenship and belonging, strengthening coordination between Religious institutions in implementing plans to renew religious discourse, respect for religions, and refute extremist and misconceptions ,Monitoring media materials broadcast by the media, websites or newspapers that involve discrimination or incitement among citizens on the basis of religion, in order to address them by taking appropriate legal action in their regard. The ministries and competent bodies continue the maintenance and restoration work that they are conducting for Islamic, Christian and Jewish archaeological sites.
-The Ministry of Youth and Sports has adopted a number of youth and sports initiatives and programs aimed at promoting and supporting the values of citizenship and belonging, including the program “Towards a Youth Vision to Confront Extremism and Terrorism”.
-The Ministry of Culture organized a series of events and activities aimed at shaping community awareness of religious freedom issues, consolidating cultural identity, and promoting citizenship values.
-The Ministry of Social Solidarity has allocated, under the slogan “We are all Egyptians… Our diversity is strength,” a budget of 12 million pounds for a year, provided by the NGOs and Institutions Support Fund in the Ministry, to support eight NGOs to implement the required interventions in the plan to enhance the values and practices of citizenship in some villages of Minya Governorate. Most affected by sectarian events.
There are other efforts related to increasing the number of Christians in public office, legalizing the conditions of churches, and allocating lands for the construction of new churches, as follows:
The representation of Christians in parliaments and leadership positions witnessed an unprecedented increase, as the number of Christian parliamentarians in 2021 reached 31 elected Christian representatives, compared to 5 elected Christian representatives in 2012, and the number of Christian seats in the Senate reached 24 in 2020 for the first time , compared to 15 Christian seats in 2012.§ The governor movement included, for the first time, the appointment of 2 Christians as governor in 2018.
Building churches and legalizing their conditions
-The issuance of the Church Building and Restoration Law in 2016, which is considered one of the most important achievements of the state of citizenship, as it ends a problem that has existed for many years and is related to the difficulties faced by the process of building and restoring churches.
– The Main Committee for Legalizing the Conditions of Churches and Their Buildings clarified that the number of churches and buildings that were approved for legalization since the start of the committee’s work in 2017 until November 2022 is about 2526 churches and related buildings.
-Allocating 41 plots of land for the construction of churches in new cities during the period from 2014 to 2019.
– The completion of the construction of 6 new churches and work is underway to establish 8 others in the new cities·
-Restoration and development of 13 churches and monasteries, and 42 churches and monasteries are being restored and developed nationwide.
9- Accusations regarding the exclusion of certain associations from participating in the climate conference
Fallacy: The Egyptian government excluded independent human rights associations from participating in the climate conference.
truth: Egypt was the host country for the conference and its role is to organize, and the United Nations is the one that determines the attendance and participation, and registration was opened via the website during the month of July 2022, for those interested in the environment, presidents and ministers, media professionals, businessmen and companies, and the organizations that have the right to attend are registered organizations previously with the United Nations.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the government’s attempt to exclude certain civil societies from attending, and confirmed in a statement that the rules for participation in all sessions of the United Nations conference are announced and known to all, and indicated that the Egyptian government, as the host of the summit, nominated 56 civil organizations from Egypt, Africa and the Middle East to attend after discussions. The statement stressed that the government’s move came out of its realization that the number of civil organizations permanently accredited to the United Nations from Africa and the Middle East is limited.
Fourth: The statement reveals the extent of contradiction and double standards
The statement revealed the extent of the contradiction and double standards that characterize the European Parliament, as while it adopts lies and allegations against the Egyptian state and seeks to employ them for hostile agendas, it is silent about the abuses and flagrant violations in the file of human rights in European countries in light of the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia that makes Muslims in these societies whether they are Citizens or immigrants at risk, exposing immigrants, refugees and ethnic minorities to persecution, waves of violence and conflicts, in addition to violence against women, crimes against minors, and street violence, as follows:
1- Migrants and Refugees Crises: It is no secret what immigrants and refugees face in European countries in light of the growing anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim attitudes. Some of these countries stipulated receiving only non-Muslim refugees and rejected all asylum applications submitted by Muslims.
Many refugees face many attacks and violations by supporters of right-wing parties in most countries of the European continent, who believe that the continent’s residents are white-skinned, and that it is necessary to expel and get rid of them because they claim that they threaten their nationalism and represent violence and terrorism. Like what the Danish authorities did recently, when they refused to renew the residency of about 380 Syrian refugees on their lands, between 2020 and 2021. It also called on 12 countries in the European Union, the executive officer of the Union to ease the rules for refugee protection.
- Racism against minorities:
The European continent is currently witnessing a significant growth in racist and xenophobic movements in light of the exploitation of extremist political parties of racial discrimination and ethnic and cultural polarization and its translation into political programs, as a means to achieve its goals and promote them in their propaganda campaigns, despite attempts by the European Union to enact legislation to combat discrimination and crimes racism, but feelings of hostility and discrimination are on the rise.
With the growth of hard-right movements, racism turned into an overt form and took on a structural and institutional character in many areas such as the labor market, education, health care, and housing, as well as the use of counter-terrorism discourse and protection of national security to justify the use of violence and taking action and measures against Arabs and Africans that lack human rights standards, and in violation of international laws. A report by the European Network Against Racism indicated that 10% to 15% of the European Union population embrace racist ideologies.
Austria and France, for example, have stepped up surveillance of Muslim communities, raided mosques, and some have faced further social exclusion in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with undocumented immigrants and people from groups that have faced historical discrimination facing challenges in obtaining vaccines.
3- Violence against women
According to a statement issued by the European Commission in 2021, the phenomenon of violence against women in European countries is exacerbating, as one out of every three women, aged 15 years and over, reported experiencing some form of physical and/or sexual violence, and one out of every three mentioned 10 women report that they have experienced some form of sexual violence, and one in 20 has been raped. More than one in five women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a current or former partner, while 43% of women have experienced some form of psychological abuse and/or controlling behavior during a relationship.
It is clear from the foregoing that European countries suffer from many problems, challenges and human rights violations, and it was better for them to face these problems and advance the human rights file in their countries instead of paying lip service to human rights to serve narrow political agendas and interests, and from directing lies and fallacies against a major, independent and sovereign country, like Egypt, which has a great influence in its regional and international environment, and no one has the right to follow policies of interference in its internal affairs.
In conclusion, “Draya” forum confirms that Egypt is moving steadily towards the implementation of human rights, and that the experience of the first year in implementing the National Human Rights Strategy confirmed the close interdependence between efforts to promote and protect human rights and the “Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt’s Vision 2030” is a guarantee Fundamental to their success and to achieve a comprehensive impact that improves the conditions and rights of citizens and meet their aspirations for a decent life and the preservation of their freedoms.