The Minister of Foreign Affairs: Egypt is Building a New Republic That is Based on Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law
On March 1st, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry delivered a recorded speech at the High Level Segment of the 49th session of the Human Rights Council, where he stated that many developments related to the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Egypt are occurring simultaneously with the holding of the Council’s session. These developments are achieved through a genuine partnership with civil society with the aim of establishing the New Republic that upholds the values of democracy, principles of human rights and rule of law, in which everyone enjoys basic rights and freedoms without discrimination. These efforts culminated in the launch of the first national strategy for human rights under the auspices of the President, with a purely national initiative and after wide and extensive consultations with civil society organizations.
Minister Shoukry explained that Egypt adopts a comprehensive approach to enhancing human rights and basic freedoms, as it has been able to achieve remarkable progress in promoting civil and political rights and basic freedoms, highlighting on the other hand the great development in enhancing the right to form associations in Egypt. This is demonstrated by the President’s announcement that 2022 will be the year of civil society, as an indication of the importance that the Egyptian State attaches to civil society as an essential partner in the development process. The progress is also demonstrated by the Egyptian Government’s submission of a request to the House of Representatives for a legislative amendment to extend the period for reconciling the legal conditions of the civil society organizations, that is stipulated in the Civil Work practice law and its Executive Regulations, to ensure that all organizations benefit from the privileges provided by it.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also referred to the firm steps that Egypt is taking in enhancing the right to freedom of religion and belief to uphold the values of citizenship, tolerance and dialogue, stating that the Law Regulating the Construction and Restoration of Churches has reconciled the status of more than 2,162 churches and service buildings, as well as 74 new churches. On the other hand, Shoukry referred to the achievements made to empower women and protect them from discrimination and crimes of violence and harassment in light of the importance the Egyptian State attaches to promoting women's rights.
Minister Shoukry highlighted the great efforts made by the Government to ensure that citizens enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights, within the framework of a comprehensive national development strategy embodied in Egypt’s Vision 2030, aimed at: providing adequate housing, infrastructure, extension and development of water, sanitation, electricity and roads networks, improving the health and education systems, providing basic social services, providing integrated social protection programs and economic empowerment for citizens without discrimination through the introduction of several important Presidential initiatives such as the initiatives of Decent Life, Takaful and Karama, 100 Million Healthy Lives and development of the Egyptian countryside, in parallel with paying special attention to people of determination and people with special abilities, as well as adopting an integrated plan to alleviate the economic and social impact of the Corona pandemic.
In addition, Shoukry emphasized that the promotion of human rights is a cumulative and continuous process, where no country can claim to have reached the optimal level of human rights protection or achieved perfection, besides the absence of a unified model that can be adopted by every state. consequently, each country determines its own priorities and approaches to deal with any challenges it faces in light of the different conditions and circumstances.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs concluded his speech by noting that multilateral action should be based on consensus, dialogue, avoiding politicization and selectivity, and not imposing controversial visions and concepts that hamper human rights work and impede achieving its desired goals. Shoukry also called for careful handling of human rights issues and avoidance of misinformation that, without support or proof, aims to achieve goals that have nothing to do with the promotion of human rights. In this context, he expressed Egypt’s aspiration for the Human Rights Council to play its role in assisting states to ensure that their citizens enjoy all human rights without discrimination, to consolidate tolerance and peaceful coexistence and to reject discrimination, racism and hate speech, and to respect the privacy and religious, cultural and value differences of societies without arrogance; emphasizing that this is the best way to move forward, together, towards a better future for all.