[Human Rights] UPR Working Group/7th session, Statement on Egypt
UPR Working Group, 7th session – Statement (questions and recommendations) of Austria for EGYPT
Austria welcomes the minister and his delegation to the UPR and thanks for the presentation of their report.
We acknowledge that the government has introduced legal reforms intended to strengthen human rights safeguards. Austria welcomes the government’s engagement in improving the situation of women, especially with regard to female genital mutilation. We note that torture and cruel treatment are criminal offences under Egyptian law and welcome the intention to modify its definition according to international standards. However, reports indicate that torture and ill-treatment of detainees are still widespread and persistent, and that investigations on allegations are often not pursued, in particular in relation to the State Security services.
We welcome the possibility for members of officially not recognised religious minorities to obtain identity cards. However, we remain concerned about persisting discrimination against religious minorities, in particular the Copts. Treaty Bodies expressed concern about infringements of the right to practice one’s religion due to the restrictive legal conditions with regard to the construction of new churches or the restoration of churches in need of repair. In recent years, members of the Copt community have repeatedly been the target of armed attacks, most recently in the terrible incident in Nag Hammadi on January 6th 2010.
We would like to make the following recommendations to the Government of Egypt:
- ratify individual complaint mechanisms of UN treaty bodies;
- submit overdue report to treaty bodies
- to end the State of Emergency irrespective of the question of the entry into force of the planned anti-terrorism legislation;
- to increase efforts to ensure that the competent authorities, in particular the Public Prosecutor investigate all torture allegations promptly and to bring any officials found responsible to justice;
- to increase efforts to end discrimination and violence against religious minorities and prosecute those involved in incitement to religious hatred and violence;
- to promote inter-religious dialogue and other educational measures to increase the understanding and tolerance in society among all religious communities;
- to invite independent national and international election monitoring teams to the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections;
We thank the minister and his delegation and look forward to the follow-up given to this review.