A seminar following Egypt’s submission of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report in Geneva on human rights – Press photo
CAIRO – 14 November 2019: AUC Political science professor Noha Abu Bakr on Thursday said Egypt has achieved huge progress in empowering women and young people, commenting on Egypt’s submission of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report in Geneva in this regard.
Abu Bakr referred to the fact that Egyptian women hold eight ministerial portfolios, representing around 25 percent of the Council of Ministers, in addition to ten women in peacekeeping forces, 600 police women, and a female presidential adviser. She also referred to Egypt’s efforts in criminalizing FGM and sexual harassment.
Concerning youth, Abu Bakr said that the state has 59 young people in the Parliament, 41 assistant ministers, and six assistant governors, and also referred to the World Youth Forum held annually under the auspices of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
On tolerance and acceptance of the other, Abu Bakr pointed to the adoption of the law on building and renovating churches, which confirms a political will to ensure the right of religious freedom, face the extremist religious discourse, and remove parts of the school curriculum which may incite violence.
Concerning health and social rights, Abu Bakr pointed to the government's launch of the campaign to detect Hepatitis C, and the early detection of cancer, the issuance of the comprehensive health insurance law, and the demolition of slums and moving inhabitants to modern housing units.
Bakr said that there are five million refugees in Egypt who have been integrated into the Egyptian society, adding that the number of registered refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt reached 0.25 million from 55 countries.
She also stressed the success of Egypt's efforts to eradicate illegal immigration, echoing the leadership’s remarks that no immigration boat has left since 2016.
For his part, Salah Salam, a member of the National Council for Human Rights, affirmed the need to continue efforts to eradicate terrorism and its sources of funding, as part of protecting human rights by securing people’s lives.
Salam referred to the terrorist acts throughout the past five years, including beheading Christian workers in Libya, targeting those cooperating with the armed forces in North Sinai, planting explosives in the Russian plane, damaging power towers and gas supply lines, as well as targeting churches, Christians, and even ambulance vehicles.
Submitting Egypt’s UPR, Mohamed Fayek, head of the National Council for Human Rights, said most of the countries' comments and reports on Egypt's human rights situation and report were generally fair and not hostile.
Fayek left for Geneva to attend the UPR of Egypt, before the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.
Concerning the remarks of some countries on the human rights situation in Egypt, Fayek said that some of the comments were positive. Fayek, in this regard, praised the efforts of the government, represented by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Omar Marwan, in preparing Egypt's UPR report.
Many of the comments indicated the government's positive response to many of the recommendations and resolutions of the last periodic review, Fayek said, adding that, on the other hand, comments of some of the European countries on the human rights situation in Egypt were not positive.
He noted that many countries highlighted the significance of the role of the National Council for Human Rights, and that there were calls to give further support to the council.
Minister Marwan said earlier that Egypt has adopted a policy protecting and supporting human rights.
He added that Egypt’s policy in this regard comes in accordance with the related international agreements and charters, adhering to the “values and principles of the country’s national identity.”
This policy observes the principles of equality and justice among all citizens, enhancing all forms of political, civil, political, economic, social and cultural human rights in a balanced way so that “no right can be observed at the expense of another,” he emphasized.