Arab foreign ministers meet during a regular session to discuss latest developments in Middle Eastern affairs, in Cairo, Egypt September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany Arab foreign ministers meet during a regular session to discuss latest developments in Middle Eastern affairs, in Cairo, Egypt September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egypt joins Arab Charter of Human Rights per presidential decree

Thu, Jun. 13, 2019
CAIRO – 13 June 2019: Egypt's official Gazette Al-Waqa'i' al-Misriyya published Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's decree approving Egypt's acceptance of the Arab Charter on Human Rights adopted at a summit of the League of Arab States in May 2004.

The laws and presidential decrees come into effect usually after they are published in the official Gazette.

The Arab Charter on Human Rights was first issued in 1994, 26 years after the Arab Commission for Human Rights was formed. However, this version was not ratified as it reportedly failed to get in line with international human rights law.

After revision, the charter came into force in 2008 after seven countries had ratified it. In 2012, the Arab Commission for Human Rights, headed by Abdul Raheem Al-Awadhi, assistant foreign minister for legal affairs of UAE at the time, called on Egypt to join the charter.

By 2013, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Sudan, Algeria, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon had ratified the charter.

Egypt's acceptance of the charter was approved by the Egyptian Parliament in January this year after it was accepted by the Cabinet in August, 2018.


Mervat Rishmawi, a legal advisor at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, said that the charter is "part of a larger process of modernization of the Arab League, which includes the creation of a Peace and Security Council as well as the establishment of an interim Arab Parliament," according to an article published in Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"The charter’s significance lies in the fact that it is an instrument from the region, negotiated by states of the region. It therefore has the potential to diminish and eventually end the continued questioning by Arab states of their duties to respect, protect, and promote human rights in many areas," Rishmawi added.

Top priority

During a meeting with an African Commission on Human and peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in Cairo, President Sisi emphasized in April that promoting human rights is one of Egypt’s priorities in Vision 2030.

He referred to the achievements accomplished thus far in eliminating slums and unsafe areas, providing over a million of their inhabitants with proper housing.

Social housing for young people; the major anti-Hepatitis C campaign that erased patient waiting lists, the unprecedented educational makeover; and the empowerment of women, people with special needs and the youth were also among the projects Sisi highlighted in the meeting.

He also emphasized the state’s role in promoting religious tolerance, acceptance and coexistence, as well as entrenching the concept of citizenship.

As Egypt hosts millions of expats and refugees, Sisi said they practice all their rights and activities freely according to UN conventions.
 
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