The mechanisms of the Egyptian State's Care for human rights
Thursday، 04 January 2018 - 01:45 PM
By: Dr. Samia Mohamed Abd El-Rahman
In 1945, the United Nations' Charter laid down the bases and principles of protecting human rights securing that the individual is enjoying basic freedom and a number of rights, after its drafters correlated the relation between international peace and security on one hand, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons without discrimination on the other.
The United Nations did not settle for incorporating into its Charter
several provisions on human rights, but it set out to supplement these provisions by adopting many international instruments and agreements covering various aspects of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In the forefront of these provisions are the "International Legitimacy of Human Rights", which comprise the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966.
In this context, Egypt has established the following mechanisms:
First: Egyptian constitutions:
At the internal Egyptian level, upon the enactment of the Constitution of 1923, the Egyptian political system then in power contained provisions granting rights and human freedoms to citizens. This political system found ideological and cultural bases in its ancient Egyptian heritage and in the Islamic culture which regards the human person as a revered creature enjoying, by virtue of his humanity, a number of rights and freedoms that proscribe any political authority from violation or infringement thereof.
This reverence has been reflected in the subsequent Egyptian
constitutions, the most important of which were the Constitution of 1956 enacted following the Revolution of 1952, the Constitution of the United Arab Republic signed in 1958 following the union of Egypt and Syria, the Constitution 1971, and, finally, the present Constitution 2014.
The most important changes are:
- the gradual shift from a socialist regime to an economy driven by
the forces of supply and demand and by private sector enterprises,
- the transfer from a one-party political regime to a multi-party one;
- the increased awareness of the importance of public participation
in political and economic decision-making to realize economic growth and development.
The object of this Law is to promote, ensure respect, set values for, raise awareness and ensure observance of human rights.
Second: International and regional human rights conventions:
A) Egypt has adopted the following international Conventions:
1. Slavery, Servitude, Forced Labour and Similar Institutions and Practices Convention, signed at Geneva on 25 September 1926, and the Protocol amending the said Convention .
2. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, opened for signature on 9 December 1948.
3. Convention No. 29 of the International Labour Organization concerning Forced Labour, Geneva, 1930.
4. Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, Geneva,1956.
5. Convention No. 105 of the International Labour Organization concerning Abolition of Forced Labour, Geneva, 1957.
6. Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, 1950.
7. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1965.
8. International Convention on Suppression & Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid 30 Nov. 1973.
9. Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951.
10. Protocol relating to Amendments to the Convention of the Status of Refugees, 1966.
11. Convention on the Political Rights of Women, 1953.
12. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979.
13. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966.
14. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966.
15. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1948.
16. Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989.
17. International Convention against Apartheid in Sports, 1985.
B) Egypt's role in the establishment of the Regional Legitimacy of
Human Rights Principles
Egypt has adopted the following regional conventions:
1. Organization of African Unity's Convention Governing the Specific.
2. Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, 1969.
3. African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, 1980.
4. The Charter on the Rights of the Arab Child of the League of Arab States, 1983.
5. African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, 1990.
Third: National Means of achieving justice:
The Egyptian legal system provides national means of remedy for victims and injured parties in respect of any violations relating to the rights and freedoms protected by the Constitution and law. This is irrespective of whether they are committed by public authority officials or others.
The Constitution has defined the rules for litigation, and judiciary authorities and bodies.
** The Egyptian Penal Code:
The Egyptian Penal Code stipulates the penal provisions for acts incriminated under international human rights conventions and defines the punishment that may be inflicted on perpetrators proven to have committed them.
** The Public Prosecution:
The Public Prosecution is the principal branch of the judiciary charged with investigations and prosecution in criminal actions. Its members enjoy legal immunity that grants it independence to issue judicial decisions when discharging the functions entrusted to it by law.
** The Supreme Constitutional Court:
The Supreme Constitutional Court surpassed the constitutional, judicial protection of human rights provided for in the Constitution, and played a leading role in eliminating the legal provisions in the legislative structure prejudicial to principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms contained in the Constitution. Within its competences, it moreover ruled for the non-constitutionality of legal provisions in conflict with the Constitution, and it established, by its constitutional rulings, the principles that enhanced the meanings, concepts and spirit laid down by international human rights conventions.
** The Court of Cassation:
The pivotal role played by the Court of Cassation and the High Administrative Court to establish and reaffirm the main principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms is not to be ignored. This, in turn, has had a bearing on ordinary court rulings and on the State NCHR courts in their respective competence, and has led to the application of legal provisions to affirm the protection of rights and freedoms and to define the applied rules furthering their enforceability, and nullifying the legal effects resulting from their breach, punishing the perpetrator, and compensating the injured party.
Without doubt, the continuous support and assistance for national means for remedy to enable them to deal with the increasing burdens faced and to maintain their independence and impartiality is a national quest that the government must exert its efforts to realize to safeguard the security and stability of the society and to create the appropriate social environment to embrace the culture of human rights
Fourth: Human Rights National Mechanisms:
The last two decades of the twentieth century and the beginning of
this century witnessed State efforts to promote and disseminate respect for human rights and effectively enforce the international obligations arising from adoption by Egypt of the relevant international conventions. Several national governmental mechanisms were established, as follows:
1- National NCHR for Childhood and Motherhood:
2- National NCHR for Women:
3 - Public Department for Human Rights Affairs, Ministry of Justice:
4 - Public Department for Human Rights Affairs, Ministry of Foreign
5 - High Committee for Human Rights, Ministry of Interior:
6 - Human Rights Committee, Ministry of Social Insurance:
Without doubt, these national governmental, mechanisms play an
important role to ensure respect for human rights by governmental
organs; performance by the Egyptian government of its legal obligations under the applicable international conventions to which Egypt is a party, and the obligations under the applicable Egyptian laws and regulations; and, in general, to further, promote and respect fundamental human rights, increase awareness of human rights and widely disseminate its culture.
Fifth: National Council for Human Rights:
The Egyptian legislator promulgated Law no. 94 of 2003 on the
establishment of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) amid a shift in world-wide public opinion towards more protection of rights and freedoms and amid greater emphasis on political, constitutional and economic reform in Egypt and radical changes thereto.
Accordingly, the first NCHR was established in Egypt, and its first
meeting was held on 18 February 2004. Pursuant to Article 13 of this
Law, the NCHR shall prepare an annual report covering its efforts and activities and shall incorporate therein recommendations deemed appropriate within its functions, and shall present its report to the President of the Republic, the head of the People's Assembly.
Pursuant to its promulgating law, the NCHR undertakes to achieve
the following purposes:
1- Further the protection and set the values of human rights.
2- Raise awareness of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
3- Ensure the observance of such rights and freedoms and undertake to
settle complaints related thereto.
4- Provide opinions, recommendations and advice on matters relating
to human rights at the national and international levels and monitor
the enforcement and application of international agreements .