Egyptian delegation in Geneva expresses reservations about UNHR Chief’s comments

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Sun, 16 Sep 2018 - 11:55 GMT

Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, Egypt's ambassador to the UN Alaa Youseef addressed Bachelet's claims and comments – Photo compiled by Egypt Today Staff

Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, Egypt's ambassador to the UN Alaa Youseef addressed Bachelet's claims and comments – Photo compiled by Egypt Today Staff

GENEVA – 16 September 2018: The Egyptian delegation in Geneva, on the margins of the 39th Session of the International Council for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, expressed its reservations on the comments made by Michelle Bachelet, UN Human Rights Chief, in her first meeting with civil society organizations.

The delegation pointed out the fact that Bachelet, who only took office two weeks ago, is new to her position and has many issues to look at prior to make such comments. The delegation also pointed out that much of the issues and information that the chief has to study suggest the contradictions between her statement and her role in protecting human rights.

The delegation also stressed that Bachelet’s statements are unprofessional and contradict the duties and responsibilities that her office holds, arguing that the specific guidelines and standards put forwards by the UN General Assembly should be kept with and that her statements reflected a lack of understanding of the nature of her post.

Earlier, Egypt voiced indignation on September 11, 2018, at the UN Human Rights Chief’s assertions, which claimed that 75 death sentences confirmed by an Egyptian court at the weekend were based on an "unfair trial" and should be reversed.


Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, Egypt's ambassador to the UN Alaa Youseef addressed Bachelet's claims and comments.


The following is the full statement as obtained by Egypt Today;



In his statement, Youssef objected Bachelet’s unfair and harsh criticism of Egypt’s judiciary – without any solid proof – and her concern over the numerous mass trials that have been executed in Egypt since the toppling of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.




Later, during a seminar, organized by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), in Geneva on September 14, 2018, titled, ‘Terrorism and Human Rights in Egypt: Compensation for Victims of Terrorism and Qatari support of terrorism,’ Hafez Abu Seada, Egyptian human rights activist and Chairman of the (EOHR), said, “With regard to the recent death sentences, the organization holds the view that the accused have the right to an appeal; Egypt’s law requires the public prosecution to appeal even if the defendant is not challenged.”

It is worth mentioning that Bachelet met with many delegations participating in the 39th session of the International Human Rights Council in Geneva, but that the Chief ignored the questioned put forward by Arab human rights organizations regarding the UN’s role in protecting Palestinian citizens held in Israeli jails.

The Egyptian delegation in Geneva is made up of human rights experts, diplomats, lawyers, Egyptian jurists, the Egyptian Organization of Human Rights, the Association for Egyptian Female Layers, the dialogue forum for development and human rights, among others.

The background

In an unprecedented move, United Nations Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet, who took office last week, called on Egypt’s appeals court on Sunday to overturn the death sentences given out to the 75 people over the 2013 sit-in.

Bachelet’s words, which came without any questions, notifications or enquires being sent to the Egyptian government and without prior notice to the government, spoke of an “unfair trial,” elaborating that if the sentences were to be carried out, they “would represent a gross and irreversible miscarriage of justice.”

Flying in the face of the free Egyptian courts and Egypt’s sovereignty, Bachelet explained that “the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence to prove individual guilt,” continuing, “I hope that the Egyptian Court of Appeal will review this verdict and ensure that international standards of justice are respected by setting it aside.”

Without any studying of the cases or an investigation into the death sentences, Bachelet’s statements appear to lack grounds or evidence.

“Bachelet decried the “lethal military crackdown” saying it had led to the killing of “up to 900 mostly unarmed protesters by members of the Egyptian security forces”,” writes Reuters.

Although Bachelet admits that the Government stated that the crackdown came as a result of protestors being armed and that a number of police personnel lost their lives in the crackdown, she explains that someone should be held accountable for what she terms “Rabaa massacre”.

“Justice must apply to all – no one should be immune.”

Bachelet’s statements seem to have come without investigation or analysis of the events occurring on the ground during the Rabaa sit-in.

“I urge the Government of Egypt to ensure that justice will be done, according to law, in relation to any individuals – including members of the state security forces – who are suspected of committing a crime.” Once again. Bachelet’s words fly in the face of the sovereignty that Egypt holds and that international agreements have documented.

Without evidence and investigation teams on the ground, Bachelet’s statements lack neutrality, impartiality and unbias.

Responding to Bachelet’s remarks, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that Bachelet’s comments are influenced by “the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood lies.”

Egypt has not signed the international agreement to prevent the death penalty implementation; the United Nations recognizes Egypt’s right to implement this penalty.

Egypt has the right to choose and set its legal and judiciary systems according to the constitution approved in 1923 and in accordance with judiciary independence constitutional articles 94/2014.

Additional Reporting by Lolwa Reda, Mohamed Zain

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