News / Middle East

Concern Grows About Human Rights in Egypt

Egyptian riot police fire tear gas towards protesters during clashes in Cairo, April 6, 2013.Egyptian riot police fire tear gas towards protesters during clashes in Cairo, April 6, 2013.
x
Egyptian riot police fire tear gas towards protesters during clashes in Cairo, April 6, 2013.
Egyptian riot police fire tear gas towards protesters during clashes in Cairo, April 6, 2013.
Mohamed Elshinnawi
Among the many reasons why Egyptians rose up against their government more than two years ago were widespread allegations of police brutality and human rights violations.
 
Now, with a new popularly elected government in place in Cairo, the allegations continue almost on a daily basis, ranging from ill treatment of citizens on the street to the killing of anti-government protesters. And when those allegations finally reach a courtroom, government critics say the result is often an acquittal or light jail sentence for the perpetrators.
 
Recently, 22 human rights organizations operating in Egypt issued a joint statement condemning what they say is a lack of respect for international human rights standards, especially when it comes to freedom of association.
 
The statement also accused the government of suppressing the ability of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to function freely by placing "arbitrary restrictions on financial resources" from foreign sources.
 
Freedom House, a U.S.-based independent advocacy organization, also raised the issue, citing a proposed law under consideration by Shura Council, the upper house of the Egyptian parliament. Freedom House said the law would require any NGO operating in Egypt to get advance government permission for foreign donations, whatever the source.
 
If approved, the law has the potential to drive most, if not all, foreign NGOs out of the country, Freedom House said.
 
The U.S. State Department also has expressed concerns about how the Egyptian government investigates and deals with alleged human rights violations.
 
"People should be able to exercise their universal rights peacefully," State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said recently, "and the government of Egypt should respond in a way that respects human rights and should conduct any investigation or response in a thorough, credible, and independent way."
 
Human rights under siege
 
Human rights organizations in Egypt are also warning that the government of President Mohamed Morsi has begun a campaign to restrict freedom of the press by prosecuting journalists on dubious charges. Morsi’s office denies the accusation, noting that Egyptian prosecutors act independently of the president’s office.
 
"The presidency underlines its complete respect for freedom of the expression and the press," says statement issued by Morsi’s office.
 
Heba Morayef, the Egypt director for Human Rights Watch, begs to differ.
 
"Morsi refused to release a fact-finding committee’s report that would be the first official acknowledgment of police responsibility for violence against protesters," Morayef said during a recent panel discussion at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based research organization.
 
Morayef added that it has been clear for several months now that Morsi’s government lacks the political will to begin needed reforms or improve government accountability.
 
Appearing with Morayef at the Atlantic Council discussion was Tarek Radwan, an associate director of the organization. He also said needed reforms were unlikely because Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party believes serious structural reforms would undercut its political strength.
 
Coptic Christians run inside the main cathedral in Cairo as police fire tear gas during clashes with Muslims standing outside the cathedral April 7, 2013.Coptic Christians run inside the main cathedral in Cairo as police fire tear gas during clashes with Muslims standing outside the cathedral April 7, 2013.
x
Coptic Christians run inside the main cathedral in Cairo as police fire tear gas during clashes with Muslims standing outside the cathedral April 7, 2013.
Coptic Christians run inside the main cathedral in Cairo as police fire tear gas during clashes with Muslims standing outside the cathedral April 7, 2013.
External pressure
 
In recent days, the troubles in Egypt took a new turn when Muslims and Coptic Christians clashed in central Cairo after a funeral service for four Copts killed in an earlier confrontation with Muslims. The latest clashes on Sunday resulted in another person killed and 80 injured.
 
Morsi's government had promised to protect the rights of Copts, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 84 million people. Following the latest violence, Morsi telephoned Coptic Pope Tawadros II and told him he considered any attack on Cairo's Coptic cathedral "an attack on me."
 
Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, happened to be visiting Cairo at the time of the latest unrest and called on Morsi's office to urge the security forces to control the violence.
 
Despite the ongoing troubles, Egypt experts such as Morayef believe there is a window of opportunity to improve the human rights and rule of law situation in the country.
 
"The opportunity for leverage is now, while the Morsi government is still outward looking," Morayef said at the Atlantic Council discussion.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
April 09, 2013 6:02 PM
poor decision from us Gov.to support moresi in Egypt has severe effect. economy is getting worst. Muslim brotherhood and other fanatic Islamic group turn the country into anarchy because these people does not respect the law or the country has no law. I believe that a blunder mistake from Us and allow these fanatic to seize the power and they determined to turn the country into stone age .now it is too little too late

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid