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The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

Notes from the 7th general assembly of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

1 July 1998

The 7th  general assembly of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
(EOHR) was held on Friday 26 June 1998 

The general assembly of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR)
was held on 26 June 1998 at the Egyptian Press Union.  The assembly was
attended by 373 members out of 650 members who paid their membership fees. 
This number constituted a percentage of 57.39% of the total number of those
who had the right to attend the assembly.

The general assembly started by electing Mr. Ahmed Obied, head of the
research and publications unit at the Arab Lawyers Union, as a chairman;
engineer Mohsin Hashim and Mr. Hassan Soliman as secretaries.  The
following agenda was adopted:

1.	Discussion of the report presented by the Board of Trustees
2.	Approval of the budget and final accounts report 
3.	Election of a new board of trustees
4.	Others (human rights situation in Egypt and the EOHR work prospective) 

The assembly revised the activity report presented by the board of trustees
over the period June 1995  May 1998, and examined the general budget and
the statements on revenues and expenditure of the organization in the years
1995, 1996, and 1997. The discussions were held in a democratic climate.

The participants praised the efforts made by the Board of Trustees and
stressed the importance of the role of the EOHR in protecting and
reinforcing human rights and general freedoms in Egypt.  They affirmed that
this role must be developed and enhanced on local, regional and
international levels.  They pointed out that the EOHR was established upon
the will of its members, and has performed its role effectively in spite of
all the difficulties and obstacles it faced.

The participants cited the role of the organization in monitoring human
rights violations and in providing protection, offering legal assistance,
trying to improve civil and political rights, and in supporting prisoners
of opinion and conscience in Egypt.  They demanded that the organization
must pay more attention to economic, social and cultural rights, and try to
find the means that would reinforce these rights.

The participants demanded that the board of trustees must activate the role
of the organization and try to find proper solutions to the problems
accumulated since it was established.  In this regard, the general assembly
approved the following as guidelines for the new board of trustees:

To conduct an assessment of the work of the EOHR and its branches: its
activities in Egypt and its international relations.  This is to be done by
inviting experts from the United Nations Center for Human Rights as well as
from regional and international human rights organizations to conduct such
an assessment and make a report on the current situation of the EOHR and
propose strategies for future work.
To organize an extended workshop which would include Egyptian and Arab
experts, as well as representatives of the international, Arab and local,
if any, funding organizations in order to hold an extended discussion of
the assessment report
To prepare for an extraordinary general assembly to discuss and approve
work strategies for the coming century.

The participants recommended that the board of trustees would seek to
realize the most participation possible by regional members of the EOHR, to
start an educational and training program to develop the skills of the
activists among the members.  They also recommended that the board would
seek to develop the relation with other human rights centers and to
maintain the role of the organization as an effective national framework in
the field of human rights.

The participants noted that over the period 1996-1998, the board of
trustees did not meet regularly due to lack of quorum, and that no
executive bureau was nominated; a situation which hindered many of the
activities and led to a monopoly of the decision-making process.  

In this regard, the general assembly called on the new board to commit to
hold regular meetings and to nominate an executive bureau in order to help
the organization work more effectively. It also stressed the importance of
holding discussions to amend the current statutes of the EOHR so that to
fill this gap and deal with the problem of non-attendance of meetings by
the board members.

Organizational decisions and recommendations

Two different points of view were expressed in this regard.  One group
believed that the door must be immediately opened for new memberships,
whereas the other group believed that this matter must be tackled with
objectivity and flexibility and that there must be a from of affiliated
membership in addition to the working membership in order not to inundate
the organization in political conflicts and regional lobbying. 

The general assembly concluded by calling on the board of trustees to
include this matter into the agendas of the assessment process, the
extended workshop and the extraordinary general assembly in order to deal
with the problems which have accompanied the work of the EOHR since its

With respect to funding policies and the  approval of the budget and final
accounts report 

The participants emphasized that financing the organization must by given
proper attention, that funding sources must be diverse, and that Arab and
Egyptian funding institutions must be sought as alternatives to foreign
funding.  They affirmed that in all cases, in accepting foreign funds,
previous decisions made by the general assembly must be followed.  These
decisions affirmed that "Donations made by governments shall not be
accepted.  Only unconditioned funds which serve the objectives of the
organization and do not lead to any interference in its activities, shall
be accepted.  No relations will be established with funding institutions
which serve Israeli plans or the naturalization process with it."

The participants made some comments on the budget and the final accounts
report of the years 1995, 1996, before approving them.

The general assembly then elected a new board of trustees, 15 members, out
of 29 candidates.  The elections resulted in the winning of the following
candidates arranged according to the number of votes they obtained: 

	Name	No. of votes obtained	
1	Yehya Al-Gamal	297	
2 	Mohammed Saleem El-Awwa	278	
3	Hassanein Koroum	274	
4	Abdel-Aziz Mohammed	266	
5	Atif El-Banna	260	
6	Saeed El-Gamal	251	
7	Yasser Hassan	217	
8	Abu El-Kassim El-Nobi	206	
9	Ibrahim El-Sherbeni	205	
10	Adel Eid	203	
11	Hafez Abu- Se'da	200	
12	Ahmed Abdel-Malik	177	
13	Rida Tolba	160	
14	Aymen Nour	156	
15	Abdalla Abdel-Latif	154	

 Human rights situation in Egypt, and work prospective of the EOHR

The general assembly called on the organization's board of trustees to
address and deal with the problems and issues which were raised since the
establishing of the organization, particularly those related to the nature
of the organization, its orientations, membership, funding, and its
relation with other civil associations in Egypt as well as with local,
regional and international human rights organizations. 

The general assembly stressed that it is important to assess the past
period through inviting experts from the United Nations and from Arab and
international human rights organizations; to organize an extended workshop
to  suggest strategies for future work and address the problems faced by
the organization; and to invite the general assembly for an extraordinary
session to discuss and approve these strategies and programs.

The general assembly called on the board of trustees to implement the
decision issued by the fifth general assembly with respect to holding a
national forum for democracy in collaboration with other organizations,
centers, unions, and associations concerned with human rights.  Such a
forum would be a tool to exchange dialogues in order to settle disputes and
reach mutual agreement on national policies and programs that would promote
democracy, enhance human rights, deepen the respect for ideological
plurality, tolerance, and understanding,  discard violence and urge for
more effective participation in the decision-making process on the national

The general assembly thanked all members of the Egyptian Press Union for
hosting the seventh general assembly.  It expressed its wish that the Press
would have every success in fulfilling its role in the promotion of human
rights and basic freedoms.

The general assembly expressed its appreciation of the Press Union
effective cooperation with the EOHR for the protection of human rights.  It
expressed its deep solidarity with the journalists detained in relation to
freedom of opinion and expression offences.  It called upon the President
of the Republic to use his constitutional powers to release the detained

The general assembly thanked the secretary general, the members of the
board of trustees and the executive staff of the EOHR for the distinguish
effort they exerted over the past period, particularly in the preparation
of the seventh general assembly.

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