Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Egypt: Human Rights Reform an Urgent Priority

Human Rights Watch Delegation Completes Official Visit in Cairo
June 7, 2011

"(Cairo) - Egypt's transition to a democracy that respects the rule of law and human rights is at risk unless the military transition government carries out a number of immediate human rights reforms, Human Rights Watch said today.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) should lift the state of emergency and repeal the Emergency Law, ensure the prosecution of security officials responsible for serious abuses, repeal laws that restrict free expression, association and assembly, and end trials of civilians before military tribunals, Human Rights Watch said. On June 7, 2011, Human Rights Watch concluded three days of meetings with Egyptian officials and members of civil society, including a member of the SCAF, prime minister Dr. Essam Sharaf, justice minister Counselor Mohamed Abdel Aziz El Guindy, and the assistant interior minister, General Marwan Mostafa.

"At this critical period of transition, the military should make a clear break with the repressive policies of the past, and this means ending military trials, repealing the emergency law, and laws that restrict freedoms," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, who led the meetings in Cairo for Human Rights Watch. "Egypt has started to try some former officials, but unbroken impunity for the systematic torture of Egyptians over the past decades will only invite reoccurrence of abuse....."

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