United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein of Jordan speaks during a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, May 1, 2017. REUTERS United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein of Jordan speaks during a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, May 1, 2017. REUTERS

Egypt slams U.N. High Commissioner over criticizing human rights record

Thu, Mar. 8, 2018
CAIRO – 8 March 2018: The Egyptian Foreign Ministry strongly denounced on Wednesday U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein’s annual report that included "false allegations" of political rights violations in Egypt.

The Ministry condemned the "fabricated incidents" stated in Hussein’s report that was submitted to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday, criticizing the "pervasive climate of intimidation" in Egypt, ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

The Foreign Ministry expressed its astonishment at mentioning the 2018 election in the report, based on information described by Hussein himself as "alleged”, the statement read.

Egypt rejects any attempt to cast doubt on the credibility and integrity of the forthcoming presidential poll without providing any evidence or substantiated information, the statement added.

Hussein claimed that former Egyptian potential candidates were "pressured to withdraw" and that "independent media outlets [in Egypt] have been silenced"

The Foreign Ministry denies the state’s responsibility for the voluntary withdrawal of potential candidates or for their inability to complete their nomination papers, saying that any legal procedures against any individual are taken based on legal offences, the statement noted.

Earlier in March, Head of the State Information Service (SIS) Diaa Rashwan received at his office BBC Cairo bureau chief Safaa Faisal in order to hand her the SIS’s official objection to BBC’s controversial report, published on February 24, under the title “The Shadow over Egypt”.

The BBC report showed an Egyptian woman called Mona Mahmoud Ahmed, aka Zubeida’s mother, accusing the police of kidnapping her daughter. In a TV interview conducted by renowned anchor Amr Adib, Zubeida refuted claims about her "forced disappearance".

In September 2017, the HRW published a report accusing the Egyptian authorities of torturing prisoners. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid described the report as a deliberate distortion.

“Spreading rumors, provoking feelings and relying on unreferenced witnesses are all actions that shouldn’t be adopted by such an organization, which pretends to defend human rights."

“Complaints of human rights violations are received and addressed, in accordance with the Egyptian Constitution, where they go through independent and unbiased investigation. Media and civil society organizations also play a role in spotting such violations,” Abu Zeid added.

It is not the first time for Hussein to criticize the Egyptian government. Last September, Egypt’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador Amr Ramadan criticized a former statement of Hussein, saying, “It reflects deranged logic and political views that jump over all barriers.”

The U.N. high commissioner criticized the Egyptian government in the 36th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, claiming that governments, extremist groups and terrorists pose a danger to the world.

For his part, the Egyptian ambassador said that the comparison reflects a flawed logic and holds political views that jump over all barriers and move in special horizons made by the commissioner himself.
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