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Egypt enters the year 2023 after it has taken three important steps in the course of reviewing human rights policies in the country, namely: adopting the National Human Rights Strategy, whose implementation extends until 2026, and activating the work of the Presidential Pardon Committee, which is working diligently to release a number of detainees in prison. Opinion issues, and issuing an annual follow-up report on the level of implementation of this strategy by the Permanent Supreme Committee for Human Rights.
Since the announcement of the national strategy, the government has committed to achieving 226 changes in policies and procedures to be consistent with the protection and promotion of rights and freedoms in their comprehensive sense as contained in the 2014 constitution and in line with Egypt’s international obligations in this regard. The strategy included three tracks to follow up on the implementation of these targeted changes, namely The legislative development track, with a total of 37 targeted changes, the institutional development track, with a total of 136 targeted changes, and the education and capacity-building track in the field of human rights, with a total of 53 targeted changes.
The report on follow-up to the implementation of the strategy during its first year indicates that the largest percentage of the measures and procedures that were implemented related to the targeted results stipulated in the strategy were in the path of institutional development, then the path of education and capacity building came in second place, then the path of legislative development came in third place, according to Report These measures contributed to the promotion of civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, and to improving the status of women, children, people with disabilities, youth and the elderly, and also contributed to the development of education and capacity-building programs in the field of human rights.
The importance of these steps in their entirety is due to the fact that they reflect a change that has begun to occur in the state’s approach in dealing with the issue of human rights, as it seems that this issue has become a priority in the state’s policies during the coming years and a requirement for achieving just sustainable development throughout the country.
Also, as a result of these steps, there has become, for the first time, an official document that represents the Egyptian government narrative, and it can be referred to to find out government policies related to issues of human rights and freedoms, as the issue of human rights has been in Egypt for years, and unlike several countries in the world, there is no official government source concerned with By clarifying the policies and programs being implemented and the challenges involved in dealing with them. On the other hand, foreign and non-governmental sources were at the forefront of discussing the human rights situation in Egypt.
Also, these steps, in their entirety, establish the political dimension on which the new republic relies, which is based on a balance between achieving security and confronting terrorism, and protecting rights and freedoms in their comprehensive sense and for the various sectors of society.
This is in addition to the contribution of these steps in some way to addressing a number of contentious issues that continued to disturb Egyptian-American relations, and Egypt’s relations with some European countries.
Despite the importance of the steps taken, there is still a need for more organized effort from several parties during the coming period in the legislative development path in particular, as the strategy follow-up report indicates that the legislative proposals presented during the past year are related to a number of 17 targeted results in this track, which are proposals for a law on which social dialogue sessions were held.
The importance of working during the coming year is due to focusing on legislation and laws because they remain the source of legitimacy and sustainability for any institutional frameworks that were created within the framework of the strategy, which allow for a positive and sustainable change in the various implemented policies and programs related to human rights and freedoms, and it will be an important step to delegitimize For many individual practices and procedures that violate rights and freedoms, which are monitored on a regular basis by many concerned authorities, and to hold those responsible for those practices and procedures accountable before the judiciary.
The interest in achieving qualitative progress in implementing the targeted results in the legislative track will have an indirect impact on the course of education and capacity building in the field of human rights, especially since we have witnessed over the past years how the introduction of qualitative amendments to some laws related, for example, to the protection of women from Harassment has greatly contributed to raising awareness of this issue and changing many institutional and societal practices.
In addition, it is important for the issuance of a follow-up report on the implementation of the strategy on an annual basis, and what this requires in order to strengthen the powers of the Permanent Supreme Committee for Human Rights and its capabilities to follow up on the implementation of the rest of the targeted results stipulated in the strategy, and to monitor the level of change in the challenges related to the implementation of the strategy mentioned in the strategy. These are the weak culture of human rights, the weak level of participation in public affairs, the difficulties related to achieving targeted economic development, and terrorism and the state of turmoil in neighboring countries to Egypt.
Finally, given that the Permanent Supreme Committee is a mechanism for self-evaluation through which the government reviews and follows up on the policies it implements within the framework of the strategy’s objectives, it is important to consider presenting a follow-up report on the implementation of the strategy for discussion and community dialogue in an organized manner, with the aim of raising awareness of what has been implemented and the change that has taken place in relevant public policies.