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 FIRST 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. SECOND 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. THIRD Preserving freedom of expression, freedom of the press and journalists and respect for the right to attain and circulate information. The Organization therefore 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. FOURTH 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. FIFTH 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 confession. SIXTH Respecting citizens' right to peaceful gatherings and demonstrations, and the cancellation of all legislative sentences, particularly emergency law or demonstration law# 10 year 1914. SEVENTH 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. EIGHTH 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. NINTH 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. TENTH 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 demands 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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