Statement on the Adoption of the UPR of Egypt
As Delivered by John C. Mariz
U.S. Delegation to the Human Rights Council
Geneva, June 11, 2010
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States welcomes the return to the Council of His Excellency Mr. Mufid Shihab and the Egyptian delegation and offer our congratulations on the occasion of the adoption of its Working Group report.
The United States congratulates Egypt for passing anti-trafficking legislation and appreciates Egypt’s support for recommendations to implement programs to combat child labor. The United States also commends Egypt’s support for the recommendation that it revise relevant laws and practice to ensure compliance with the ICCPR, including for bloggers and public access to the Internet. We are pleased that Egypt supports the recommendation that it review its legislation to complete the abolition of imprisonment penalties for publication offenses, and that Egypt accepts the recommendation to expedite the provision of official documents to all Baha’is.
We welcome Egypt’s support for the recommendation that it require that the police act with restraint when not directly threatened, but we remain deeply concerned about continued killings of migrants on the border with Israel. We also welcome Egypt’s support for the recommendation that it investigate torture allegations effectively and independently, that it review the definition of torture in Egyptian law and ensure its consistency with the Convention against Torture, and that it lift the State of Emergency and replace it with a counterterrorism law guaranteeing civil liberties. We are concerned, however, over the May 11 renewal of the State of Emergency. We note the May 11 presidential decree limiting the State of Emergency to terrorism and drug cases. We welcome the subsequent release of prisoners held under the Emergency Law and call for additional releases.
We welcome Egypt’s acceptance of the recommendation to reform the penal code regarding torture. We are concerned with Egypt’s characterization of the reasons for its imprisonment of bloggers.
We take note of the explanations provided in the addendum, and with regard to the recommendations Egypt indicated it partially accepts, the United States calls on Egypt to redress laws and practices discriminating against religious minorities, pass a unified places of worship law, and amend the law to promote and protect the independence of NGOs. Consistent with our understanding of the UPR process, we regard those recommendations as noted.
Finally, and again taking due and careful note of the explanations the delegation has provided, the United States regrets Egypt’s decision not to support a significant number of recommendations with respect to religion and political liberty. Regarding the June 1 Shura elections, we are concerned about reports of fraud and interference with access to polling stations both for voters and election monitors.
Thank you, Mr. President.