- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Decree - December 9, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- Final Draft of Constitution, published November 29, 2012 (Arabic) (English) (Audio)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Decree - November 22, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- Draft of the Constitution, published October 24, 2012) (Arabic)
- Draft of the Constitution, published October 16, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Decree Pardoning January 25 Prisoners - October 8 (English) (Arabic)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Declaration - August 12 (English) (Arabic)
- President Mohamed Morsi’s Decree reinstating the dissolved parliament – July 8 (English) (Arabic)
- Renaissance (Nahda) Project (English)
- Morsi Meter (English) (Arabic)
- SCAF Amendments to Interim Constitution - June 17, 2012 (English) (Arabic)
- Interim Constitution (full text, English and Arabic), ratified by popular referendum on March 23, 2011)
- Law on the Presidential Election, No. 174, 2005 (Arabic)
- Electoral laws for the People’s Assembly and Shura Council (full text, Arabic, amended July 19, 2011)
- Law on Non-Governmental Organizations, No. 84/2002 (English)
- Law on the People’s Assembly, amended October 2011 (PDF, Arabic)
- Supra-Constitutional Principles (English) (Arabic)
- The Final Draft Wording of the Articles on Defense and National Security in the New Constitution (English) (Arabic)
- Leaked Articles of the Draft Constitution (English)
Egyptian Government Resources
- Official Facebook page of President Mohamed Morsi (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of Presidential Spokesman Yasser Ali (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of the Supreme Council of the Armed forces (Arabic)
- Official website of the Cabinet (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Interior (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Finance (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of International Cooperation (Arabic)
- Ministry of Social Solidarity (Arabic)
- Ministry of Information (Arabic)
- Ministry of Industry & Foreign Trade (English) (Arabic)
- Ahram Weekly (English)
- Egypt Independent (English)
- Daily News Egypt (English)
- Ahram Online (English)
- Akhbar al-Youm (Arabic)
- Ahram (Arabic)
- Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
- al-Masry al-Youm (Arabic)
- al-Shorouk (Arabic)
- al-Wafd (Arabic)
- Masrawy (Arabic)
- EGYNews (Arabic)
Think Tanks and NGOs:
- al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (English)
- Arab Forum for Alternatives (English) (Arabic)
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (English) (Arabic)
- Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (English) (Arabic)
- Adl (Justice)
- al-Asala (Authenticity)
- Building and Development
- Democratic Front
- al-Dostour (Constitution)
- Freedom and Justice
- Ghad (Tomorrow)
- Ittihad (Union)
- Karama (Dignity)
- al-Masriyin al-Ahrar (Free Egyptians)
- Masr al-Hurriya (Egypt Freedom)
- Nour (Light)
- Popular Alliance
- Reform and Development
- Social Democratic
- Sufi Liberation
- al-Tayar al-Masry (Egyptian Current)
When the Shura Council appointed new members to the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), the process revealed an obvious political bias in the formation. The NCHR, tasked with defending human rights and placing pressure on state authorities to improve human rights conditions, should naturally include as many human rights defenders as possible. Instead, its formation was the subject of a significant backlash, and led to at least one lawsuit filed against the state body.
The Paris Principles, ratified by the UN General Assembly in 1993, state that government institutions tasked with reinforcing human rights must provide the necessary guarantees for pluralistic representation of any given society. The Paris Principles were introduced by NGOs working on human rights and against discrimination, the very organizations whose representation must be guaranteed by state human rights bodies. It is thus paradoxical that so few human rights defenders were appointed to the NCHR while instead, a number of figures known to be antagonistic toward human rights were appointed.
Judge Hossam al-Gheryani is one of the NCHR’s most prominent members. He serves not only as chairman of the NCHR but also headed the Constituent Assembly responsible for drafting Egypt’s new constitution. The constitution itself, which has since passed, does not offer necessary protections for human rights, but instead threatens them.
Other NCHR members include Mohamed al-Beltagi, Abdel Moneim al-Maksoud, Mohamed Tousson, and Hoda Abdel Moneim, all leading members of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. The Muslim Brotherhood’s official spokesperson, Mahmoud Ghozlan, and preacher and an active member of Morsi’s presidential electoral campaign, Safwat Hegazy are also members of the NCHR.
Recent reports in the local media reveal that among the current members, there are those who have flouted basic human rights, freedom of expression and the right to equality and citizenship. Safwat Hegazy, for example, has made inflammatory remarks against Egypt’s Copts, as well as against Shiite religious figures, going so far as to threaten a Kuwaiti religious leader with death.
Like Hegazy, Beltagi also released statements of a sectarian nature against Egyptian Christians in the wake of demonstrations in front of the Presidential Palace. Their statements implicitly accused Christians of working with “enemies of the revolution” and members of Mubarak’s regime to overthrow President Morsi. This message, coming from two members of the NCHR, denies Christians the rights of equal citizenship, peaceful demonstration and free speech. Mahmoud Ghozlan also called on members of the Muslim Brotherhood to go to the Presidential Palace to demonstrate in support of the president where they forcibly broke up camps of protestors. Brotherhood supporters attacked the protestors, detaining and torturing a large number of them and then turned them over to the police. The violence resulted in several of deaths and countless injuries.
The initial formation of the NCHR included two prominent human rights activists in Egypt, Ahmed Seif al-Islam and Mohamed Zare. However, it was not long before the National Council failed decisive tests, showing that protection of human rights is not the fundamental mission of the body. Following the political crisis prompted by President Morsi’s November 21 Constitutional Declaration, Seif al-Islam and Zare along with six other human rights defenders resigned from their positions in the council. These resignations revealed the NCHR’s tendency to toe the party line, making it nearly impossible for it to successfully do its job. The resigning members criticized the NCHR, pointing to its bias regarding the constitutional declaration as well as alleged statements made by remaining members calling on the president take on more dictatorial powers for the sake of stability.
This bias was further cemented amidst concerns by rights organizations that the NCHR had demonstrated a prejudice when monitoring the constitutional referendum, likely fueled by Gheriani’s conflict of interest as head of both the Constituent Assembly and of the NCHR itself.
This wave of resignations reveals the true nature of the National Human Rights Council, which no longer includes any defenders of rights and freedoms and is currently ruled instead by a single political current. This leaves the door wide open for the council to defend the interests of the regime, cover up human rights violations, and protect the Brotherhood government’s international image.
Ragab Saad is a researcher and Managing Editor of the"Rowaq Arabi" Journal at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS).
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EgyptSource, a project of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, follows Egypt’s transition and provides a platform for Egyptian perspectives on the major issues – economic, political, legal, religious and human rights – that are at stake in the post-Mubarak era.
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Faces of Egypt
Journalist and videographer Abanoub Emad explains the drive behind his work: “I want to cover the truth..If it was just a job for me I wouldn't risk my life, but this is what I want to do…and this is what differentiates the quality of work. You can tell who's doing it for the sake of doing it, and who's doing it because it's what they love to do”
At twenty-two, Amr El Salanekly has won the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative fellowship, co-founded a social incubator and an educational platform for underprivileged kids, turned down a job with Bangladeshi Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank, and raised hundreds of thousands of Egyptian pounds for community projects in Egypt.
Check out the rest of the Faces of the New Egypt series here.
About the Contributors
Alaa Al Aswany, the Arab world's bestselling novelist, is the author of The Yacoubian Building, Chicago, and Friendly Fire. His work is published in thirty-one languages worldwide. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Yussef Auf is an Egyptian judge and 2012 Humphrey Fellow at American University’s Washington College of Law. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Constitutional Law and Political Systems at Cairo University. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Amr Hamzawy joined the Department of Public Policy and Administration at the American University in Cairo in 2011, where he continues to serve today. He is a former member of parliament and a member of the National Salvation Front. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Haitham Tabei is a special correspondent for the Washington Post and Asharq Saudi newspaper in Cairo.
Read his EgyptSource posts here.
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