October 2020

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Chairs and Presides the Consultation Session with the Advisory Body for the National Human Rights Strategy

His Excellency, Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman and President of the SSCHR witnessed the Advisory Body’s meeting for the preparation of the National Human Rights Strategy (NHRS), which was held on October 17, 2020 at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Minister Shoukry addressed the meeting on this occasion in which he stressed that the initiative to prepare the first integrated and long-term national Human Rights Strategy in Egypt reflects a firm political will to strengthen national efforts by adopting a comprehensive and serious approach to promoting fundamental rights and freedoms characterized by a clear vision and strategic planning.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted that the national efforts made to advance human rights are based on the directives of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to pay attention to all human rights, whether economic, social, cultural, civil and political, as an essential part of the comprehensive development plan of the State, out of a self-conviction of the importance of human rights as an essential component of the modern civil state.

Minister Shoukry pointed out that the use of the prestigious national expertise included in the advisory body to provide observations and suggestions on the draft strategy reflects the broad participatory and consultative approach adopted by the SSCHR in the preparation process; which will also include consultation with representatives of civil society, in its broad sense, noting in this regard that, in the coming period, hearing sessions will be held in Cairo and a number of governorates. The Minister of Foreign Affairs explained that this approach is consistent with the participatory planning process pursued by the State, which would contribute to the strategy expressing the visions, proposals and aspirations of all Egyptian people. In this regard, Shoukry stressed that Egypt does not start from a vacuum and has solid national institutions, a progressive Constitution and a unique legal heritage, adding that the SSCHR represents the tool that achieves the integration of visions and coordination required between the various State agencies to effectively deal with all aspects of human rights in accordance with national priorities and determinants.

On his part, Ambassador Dr. Ahmed Ihab Gamal El-Din, Secretary-General of the SSCHR and Assistant Foreign Minister for Human Rights and International Social and Humanitarian Issues, stated that the strategy is an integrated national project in the field of human rights that aims to integrate human rights goals and principles into Egypt's ambitious development project. The Secretary-General added that the preparatory phase for the preparation of the strategy included: a comprehensive enumeration and assessment of the State's needs in the field of human rights implementation; a study of comparative international experiences; and a study of the already approved national action plans and strategies related to human rights issues to achieve integration between them and the national strategy for human rights, through building on them and completing their goals attainment, programs and activities and achieving interconnectedness among them from a comprehensive human rights perspective. The Secretary-General also noted that the Technical Secretariat has studied all the final recommendations issued to Egypt by various international and regional human rights mechanisms, as well as the recommendations of the National Council for Human Rights, categorizing them and following up their implementation status, in addition to discussing ways to enhance Egypt's implementation of its various constitutional and international obligations in the field of human rights.

For their part, the members of the Advisory Body praised the initiative of the SSCHR to prepare the strategy through a disciplined scientific approach that identifies strengths and opportunities related to many human rights issues and highlights the challenges associated with them as well as the results to be achieved, in addition to preparing the first action plan that includes a large set of main and subsidiary objectives and plans. The action plan also includes the executive plans as well as the bodies responsible for its implementation according to a clear timetable. In addition, the plan includes a number of performance indicators that will be subject to periodic monitoring and evaluation. The members of the Advisory Body also praised the consultative approach followed by the Supreme Committee in the preparation process. The meeting witnessed an in-depth and rich discussion on the content of the draft strategy.

The TS of the SSCHR will present all relevant observations and proposals, including those expressed by the civil society in the hearing sessions that are going to be held in the next phase, to the Supreme Standing Committee for Human Rights, to study and consider according to national determinants in preparation for the strategy’s final approval.

The Advisory Body is composed of twenty-five public figures and selected experts in different specializations, to contribute with their opinion on the draft national strategy for human rights, which represents one of the mandates contained in the Prime Minister’s decision to establish the SSCHR.