FILE: Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court FILE: Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court

SIS displays accomplishments in human rights realm

Sat, Apr. 27, 2019
CAIRO - 27 April 2019: Vice-chairman of the Human Rights Unit at the State Information Service (SIS) Mohamed Ali shed light on some legal aspects pertinent to human rights in Egypt .

That was on Saturday on the sidelines of the 64th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) held in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh on April 24 - May 14.

Ali clarified that Article 54 of the constitution stipulates that any individual arrested must be referred to investigation within 24 hours, and that a lawyer must attend the interrogation. Otherwise, the defendant has the right to remain silent. If the defendant has no lawyer, the state appoints a lawyer for him/her.

Ali asserted that the Egyptian state has been eager to preserve human rights even while combating terrorism. He added that the court must exclude evidence obtained through torture as long as a proof is provided.

The official highlighted that there is a 25-percent quota for women in municipal councils. He added that the National Council for Women (NCW) has the right to review legislations pertinent to women, and file complaints with concerned bodies about women rights violations.

Ali siad that the criminal procedure bill consists of some guarantees on death penalty such as the congruence of the three members of the judiciary panel, and the automatic appeal of the ruling even if no appeal is made by the convict.

The following is a report issued by SIS on achievements in the human rights realm

An Overview of Egyptian governmental efforts to promote Human Rights

The Egyptian government under the leadership of his Excellency President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has exerted great efforts to reinforce and protect the basic rights of Egyptian citizens. These efforts come within the context of reaping the fruits of the revolutions of the 25th of January 2011 and June 30th 2013, and they also serve in meeting the aspirations of every Egyptian citizen for a secure and decent life. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi stressed repeatedly that Egypt is keen on upholding basic rights and freedoms and this was backed by the policies adopted by the government under his Excellency’s leadership to solidify and preserve human rights comprehensively. In this pamphlet we review Egypt’s most important achievements within the framework of our Nation’s legal and moral obligations under the the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the two International Covenants and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Right to Education:

The presidency of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi witnessed a significant rise in the number of schools and school students. The number of schools rose from 49,435 in 2014 when President Al-Sisi was elected to 55,214. The establishment of over 6000 new schools expanded the education system’s capacity and increased the number of school students from 18,555,232 to 22,453,381 students within 5 years.

The illiteracy rate dropped from a staggering 25% of the population in 2014 to 20.1% in 2017 thanks to governments efforts to promote the universal right to education.

In 2015 the minister of education issued decree No. 42 that stipulated that students with moderate disabilities in public can be admitted into regular public schools; the minister also issued decree No. 224 within the same year that established an accident insurance system for students.

Public schools now provide meals for 80% of elementary public school students a policy which affects over 11 million students. Students also undergo mandatory medical examinations upon admission and in the beginning each of the three stages of school education.

Logistically equipping school curricula to make them easily accessible and usable for all students with disabilities through transforming school curricula to digital versions for students with hearing disabilities and printing braille versions of all school text books in order to serve the needs of students with visual impairment.

The government established 472 class rooms for special education and training 3861 under the National Initiative for the development of special education schools.

The Right to Adequate Housing:

In order to tackle chronic housing problems and slum areas, in 2014 the government launched a national project to construct 1 million adequate housing units in 283 across the republic for lower income citizens and 60% of these housing units have been constructed until now. The size of these units range from 75 to 90 square meters.

The Social Housing Project has issued grants for over 40,000 women solely supporting their households. This strengthens government efforts to achieve goal number 5 of the sustainable development goals that states that States Should Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.

164,500 women applied for housing units under the Social Housing Program and 74% of these requests were accepted.

By 2017 the government increased drinking water treatment plants from 2522 in 2012 to 2711. This provides 97% of all Egyptian households with access to drinking water and helps in enhancing the housing conditions of all citizens and supports their Universal Right to Adequate Housing.

Over 250,000 households were moved from inhumane slums to more adequate housing units in newly established cities equipped with the proper infrastructure and basic services which are virtually nonexistent in Slum areas.

Women’s Rights:

The 2014 Egyptian constitution commits the government to achieving gender equality and providing equal opportunities for Women and Men in all their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The constitution also allots women 25% of the seats of the lower chamber of parliament -The House of Representatives- and it also stresses that women should be represented in high government posts. The constitution guarantees the protection of women from all forms of violence.

Article 6 of the Constitution grants women the right to transfer citizenship to their children.

In 2019 article 102 of the constitution was amended allotting women 25% of the total number of seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

Article 180, reserved a quarter of the seats of local councils for women.

According to Article 214 of the Constitution, The National Council for Women is constitutionally protected and granted the right to review legislation relating to women prior to its promulgation, the council also has the right to inform the public authorities of any violation concerning its area of work.

Egypt acceded to The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child by Presidential Decree No. 33 of 2001 issued on 4 February 2001 and published in the Official Journal No. 44 on January 28, 2004. Egypt made reservations on the second paragraph of Article 21/2 concerning the minimum age of marriage, however Egypt withdrew its reservation after officially raising the age of marriage to 18 years in 2015 under Presidential Decree No. 75 of 2015.

The criminal law was amended by adding an article that criminalized sexual harassment in much clearer terms.

The new civil service law provides mother with 4 months of maternity leave instead of 3.

An article was added to Law No. 77/1943 to criminalize the deprivation of women from their inheritance.

The Criminal Code was amended to turn Female Genital Mutilation from a misdemeanor to a felony.

The Egyptian government and the National Council for Women’s Rights launched Women’s vision 2030 which is a national strategic partnership to empower women socially, politically and economically.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi declared 2017 as the year of the Egyptian Woman.
The 90 Women deputies constitute 15% of the total number of members of the current House of Representatives to 1.5% in the Parliament of 2012. The current House of Representatives has the largest female representation in Egypt's parliamentary history which dates back to 1866. The percentage of female representation will rise to 25% in the next House of Representatives which is scheduled to be elected in 2020, in accordance with the recent constitutional amendments that strengthened the representation of women in the House of Representatives.

A sizeable amount of Women were appointed to senior government positions under the Presidency of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, with 8 ministerial portfolios, the position of National Security Advisor and a number of governorships and deputy governorships.

66 female Judges have been appointed.

Special Female Police units were created to combat sexual harassment and violence against women.

The creation of anti-sexual harassment units in Egyptian Universities.
 
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