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HRC43 – Egypt: adoption of UPR report

13 March 2020

Human Rights Council – 43rd Session
Geneva, Friday 13th March 2020

UPR – Egypt

Thank you Madame President,

MRG welcomes the government of Egypt’s commitment to remove the unnecessary restrictions on the building and renovation of churches. Law 80/2016, that has added new restrictions, must be amended accordingly. While attacks on religious ceremonies, buildings intended for worship and shrines are criminalized in the Penal Code, in practice perpetrators are rarely brought to account due to the enforcement of extra-legal mechanisms such as informal ‘reconciliation sessions’.

In this context, MRG further welcomes the acceptance of the recommendation that law enforcement officers should receive training on how to handle sectarian violence, and calls on the Egyptian authorities to discontinue the promotion and resort to ‘reconciliation sessions’ between communities following hate crimes and mob violence. These sessions rely on informal justice approaches that are usually at the detriment of religious minorities.

MRG expresses its concern for the rejection of the recommendation regarding the removal of religion references in national identity cards, as this has been one of the issues that contributed to discrimination against religious minorities, including Bahai’s, atheists and Jews.

MRG takes note of the Government of Egypt’s commitment to take measures to uphold the economic, social and cultural rights for all citizens. MRG wishes to stress the importance of upholding the rights of Berbers, Nubians, Bedouins and nomads. Measures taken should include the return of the Nubian population to their ancestral territory, in line with Article 236 of the 2014 Constitution. They should also include the right for Nubians and Berbers to learn their language in public schools.

Finally, MRG is concerned that the Government of Egypt’s acceptance of recommendations to increase its cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms, is contradicted in practice by a pattern of reprisals and intimidation against human rights defenders – including minority rights activists – that has been on the increase in Egypt in the past year. These reprisals must stop.

I thank you.