Egypt’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Amr Ramadan – File Photo
GENEVA – 23 September 2017: Egypt’s permanent representative to the United Nations, ambassador Amr Ramadan, responded to allegations by Germany over the status of human rights in Egypt. The comments were made during the 36th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The sessions are being held between September 11-29 in Geneva.
Germany’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Christoph Heusgen, accused Egyptian authorities of imposing restrictions over the work of civil society, blacklisting certain citizens, and conducting systematic torture.
Egypt responded to the allegations on Tuesday and Wednesday during the general debate on ITEM 4 under the title Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention.
Ramadan clarified that such allegations are based upon false reports made by organizations to coordinate the reports in parallel with the UNCHR’s sessions. He explained that the Constitution prohibits such crimes which are not subject to statute of limitations in law, and that any perpetrators in individual cases get penalized while victims get compensated.
Regarding the disappearances claims, Ramadan affirmed that Egyptian authorities are responding promptly and objectively to the council’s delegation entitled to investigating such cases; the majority of whom are being prosecuted.
Ramadan questioned the purpose of such allegations and if they are “an attempt to impose control and influence over countries restoring past glories, or a resort to appease certain internal powers through the UNHCR.”
On the other hand, Ramadan expressed Egypt’s concern over ascending increase in racist practices, hatred towards foreigners, and incitement to commit such acts in Germany, in addition to violence against migrants and refugees without conducting investigations to penalize offenders.
In addition, Ramadan criticized setting laws restricting freedom of expression in Germany which disregards human rights violations assumed by its companies abroad.
Egypt’s representative to the United Nations replied to the claims raised by the delegations of the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, and Norway over the obstruction of civil society in Egypt, as there are 42,000 NGOs as well as 120 foreign NGOs operating in Egypt, which do not encounter any restrictions on foreign funding as long as they are abiding by law.
Ramadan denied criticism over the newly promulgated NGOs Law which was articulated following a social dialogue with civil society representatives. The new law abolished the requirement of receiving a permit to establish an NGO so as founders have just to inform authorities aligning with Article 75 of the constitution.
Ramadan added that the law regulated funding in accordance with international practices, asserting that there are no states allows an unrestricted flow of funds and individuals. He added that different states set regulations for the civil society, and penalize those who breach the law.
“However, those states demanded, during the council’s sessions, that other countries turn a blind eye to such breaches as if they are encouraging and not abiding by national laws,” Ramadan said.
France had also urged Egypt to strengthening respect for human rights while countering terrorism. The same advocacy was made by Estonia on behalf of the European Union calling for the Egyptian government to improve the status of civil and political rights in the country.
Ramadan replied that the Egyptian state is working on that, in addition to improving the status of economic, social rights, and putting into effect the articles of the constitution.