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The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

EOHR presents its demands in support of democratisation, human rights and freedom of expression

The Organization renews its demands for democratization, human rights, and
comprehensive political reform

On the occasion of the 8th round of the People's Assembly and the beginning
of the first legislative session, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
introduces its demands to the Council's members for the sake of settling
down a democratic society and respect for human rights and the general
public's freedoms, which the organization considers as the minimum that
should be offered.

The demands are as follows


Disabling the emergency law, which has been applied since 1981, as it has
been obvious that such  emergency laws turned out to be a tool in the hands
of security authorities using them to violate citizens' rights and basic
freedoms. Besides, the organization asks for the cancellation of State
Security Courts (emergency) because of their exceptional nature;
furthermore, these are related to the emergency state and considered an
outright violation of constitutional and international regulations
specialized in separating among authorities and a violation of the
independence of the legislature.

Cancelling all limitations imposed on the right to form political parties,
syndicates, associations, and to do so the Organization asks for

The quick loosening of the law on non-governmental organizations; its
philosophy should adhere to the liberalization of civil society and give
individuals the full right to establish their associations with free will,
as well as the right to register directly after giving notification.
In the case of being rejected by the administration, such associations
should have the full right to go to the administrative legislature, while
considering the fact that the general organizations inside the organizations
are the supreme authority and that their mission is to not let the
administrative authorities interfere in their work. Moreover, it is
necessary to ensure that the associations and non-governmental organizations
are able to increase. They should be able to supply their programs to
individuals and institutions inside and outside Egypt, after providing
notification concerning the sources of the supplier, its volume, its
projects, or programs specified for them. Furthermore, the organizations
should take responsibility for accounting measures, which should be
available for anyone to check, and for the publication of the annual budget
that has been checked by an outside accountant appointed by the association.
Finally, the new law should prohibit the disassembling of an association by
an administrative resolution. If the administration wishes to disassemble
any association, it should be required to go through the courts.

The EOHR calls for

1) Modifying law 40 year 1977 concerning political parties, which assures
the citizens' right to form parties with no administrative, political or
security limitations. In addition, the Organization demands the suspension
of the political affairs council, because of its governmental nature and for
being an obstacle on the road toward truthfulness in the process of the
formalization of parties to constitute a new party. Since its establishment,
the political affairs council has rejected all requests for the creation of
new parties, except one. The Organization insists on making a statement for
the adequacy of forming party notification.

2) Modifying professional syndicates law # 100 year 1993, which postpones
elections in such syndicates. This law has led to imposing state security
sanctions on a great number of syndicates. The case of the lawyers'
syndicate is a good example of the interference of administrative
authorities in the affairs of professional syndicates, according to law 100
year 1993 and its modifications.

3) Despite the positive modifications on directing political rights law # 73
year 1956, which permits judges to monitor the voting process, and referring
to the latest parliamentary elections, the Organization demands that
political reform be completed. What is needed is a statement that guarantees
a comprehensive political monitoring of all stages in the election process,
starting with  first step of preparing voters' lists, to the voting process
itself, and to the final stage of collecting votes and announcing results
according to law 88 of the constitution.

The Organization highlights the importance of having institutions owned by
the state adhere to the law and the courts' decisions, and therefore the
importance of applying sentences concerning 13 constituencies which must
have run off elections according to law 64, which confirms that the "law is
the basis of authority in the state". Moreover, Law 65 confirms that the
state must adhere to the law, the independence of the legislature and legal
protection as guarantees of freedoms.

Preserving freedom of expression, freedom of the press and journalists and
respect for the right to attain and circulate information. The Organization

1) Demands the cancellation of sanctions imposed on freedom of expression,
which were obvious in a number of cases involving publications. A number of
these sanctions are outlined in law 77/B and 98/B, 102, 178, 124/B, 302,
303, 306 of sanctions law # 21 and 21 of Press Law # 96 year 1996.

2) Demands the modification of the legislative law regarding the right to
publish newspapers; consequently, changing Publications law # 20 year 1936
and law # 17/B on companies, which stipulates that the conditions for the
establishment of a company in order to publish newspapers must be approved
by the prime minister.

3) Demands that administrative interference in press affairs concerning cens
orship, banning or cancellation of newspapers, be deterred.

4) Demands the cancellation of all kinds of censorship on publishing,
circulating publications, artistic and literary creativity, and calls for
the application of a democratic policy on the ownership of radio, television
and other media owned by the state. The Organization also calls for a
further modification in the Radio and Television law #13 year 1979, which
would grant all political and ideological groupings and artistic schools the
right to self expression through the state's channels.

5) Demands the liberation of information circulation and calls for the
deterrence of laws concerned with classifying information as secret, expect
in matters related to State Defense.

Deterring the phenomenon of sending civilians to military courts, as those
courts violate all the rights given to the person in charge to ensure a just
court and have been an extreme violation of legislative independence.

Deterring the phenomenon of citizens' torture and humiliation in police
stations and modifying law 63, the criminal regulations law, which helps
those who have been tortured to sue those in charge. It is also necessary to
include outright and clear statements on the concept of torture, according
to the international definition, and to reiterate the importance of
punishment of such acts, even if the torture was not undertaken to extract a

Respecting citizens' right to peaceful gatherings and demonstrations, and
the cancellation of all legislative sentences, particularly emergency law or
demonstration law# 10 year 1914.

Improving the status quo of Egyptian prisons, by adopting all necessary
measures and appropriate regulations to improve the situation inside
prisons. Preserving prisoners' rights to not be humiliated, and respecting
their rights to education, adequate nutrition, visiting periods, and
communicating with the outside world.

Deterring any kind of discrimination against women. Despite the partial
modifications of the personal affairs law, the Organization notes the
necessity to change the legislative sentences which classify women as second
class citizens, especially law # 25 year 1929, modified by law 100 year
1985, the sanctions law, and nationality law # 26 year 1957. This latter law
discriminates against women married to foreigners, by stipulating that their
children shall not enjoy the benefits of Egyptian citizenship. Married
women's rights to leave the country and their rights to be appointed to
legislative posts are also not respected.

Under the umbrella of privatization, policies which led to an increase in
the rate of poverty among poor citizens and middle class ones, the Egyptian
Organization demands that the regime render effective promises it has made
by signing international accords on preserving the economic, social and
cultural rights of all citizens, by providing the necessary financial
support for the fields of education, health, work, and maintaining an
appropriate standard of living.

Applying law 151 of the Egyptian constitution, which permits international
agreements to enjoy the same rights and legitimacy as do local laws, so that
the Egyptian legislature can be reviewed under the shadow of international
accords which Egypt has previously approved; therefore, the Organization
1) Approving the protocol provided for by the international accord for
civilians' political rights.
2) Signing the resolution which protects members of human rights
organizations, published on 9 December 1998.
3) Approving the resolution referred to as 21/22, regarding international
agreements objecting to torture and which can be helpful to the United
Nations Council in resisting torture; consequently, this would allow the
Council to consider complaints received from individuals or organizations
regarding governments' violation of resolutions on torture.
4) Applying an agreement concerned with establishing an International
Criminal Court, which the Egyptian government signed in March 1998.

The Egyptian Organization presents these demands to the Egyptian government
and the new people's assembly and wishes to be joined by all parties, either
governmental or non governmental ones, for the sake of presenting such
demands on practical terms, so that in the coming millennium civil
democratic society will be recognized and there will be a narrowing of the
gap between reality and Egypt's international responsibilities, according to
its agreements with developed countries concerned with human rights.

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This document is published online by Derechos Human Rights. Derechos works against violations to human rights and humanitarian law all over the world.