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U.S. Statement on the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt
February 17, 2010


Human Rights Council - Archive Photo

UN Human Rights Council
Consideration of UPR Reports

Report of the UPR Working Group on Egypt

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Douglas Griffiths, Chargé d’Affaires

February 17, 2010
Geneva,  Switzerland

The United States welcomes His Excellency, Mr. Mufid Shihab, the Minister of Legal Affairs and Parliamentary Councils and thanks the Egyptian delegation for the presentation of its national report. Having carefully reviewed the information provided, we offer the following recommendations.

The United States recommends the Government of Egypt lift the state of emergency that has been in effect since 1981 and replace the Emergency Law with a counterterrorism law that guarantees civil liberties. Because of freedom of expression concerns, the United States recommends the abolishment of prison terms for incitement to discrimination regarding sex, origin, language, religion or belief, and for acts damaging to an individual’s honor.

The United States recommends that the Government of Egypt release bloggers and activists currently detained under the Emergency Law and cease its arrests and detentions of political activists.

We recommend that Egypt pass legislation that allows NGOs to accept foreign funding without prior government approval, legislation that allows for increased freedom of association and assembly, and legislation allowing labor unions to operate without joining the Egyptian Trade Union Federation.

We recommend that Egypt redress laws and government practices that discriminate against members of religious minorities, and in particular urgently pass a “unified law” that makes requirements equal for construction and repair of the places of worship for all religious groups. We welcome the news that the trial has begun for four suspects charged with the January 6 attack on Coptic churchgoers. Failure to prosecute those who perpetrate violent crimes against Copts has contributed to a climate of impunity. We further recommend that Egypt investigate and prosecute perpetrators of sectarian violence and ensure victims’ recourse to the judicial system. We recommend that Egypt eliminate legal and bureaucratic restrictions affecting an individual’s right to choose his or her religion.

We further recommend that Egypt expedite the provision of all official documents, particularly identity documents to all members of its Baha’i community.

We recommend that Egypt pass comprehensive anti-trafficking in persons legislation.

We recommend that Egypt uphold its international obligations relating to refugees We are concerned about the ongoing deportations of Africans to places where their lives may be in danger and are concerned that Egyptian police continue to shoot unarmed Africans attempting to cross into Israel. We recommend that Egypt require that the police act with restraint when not directly threatened.

Thank you