CAIRO: State-run watchdog the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) organized a workshop on Monday to combat torture practices in Egypt.
Entitled “Toward a strategy to combat torture, the conference was reportedly inaugurated by NCHR Chairman Boutros Ghali and discussed a variety of themes related to the issue.
The forum was attended by representatives from government bodies as well as local and international human rights organizations, including the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) and the International Red Cross.
It is important to hold these events where representatives from rights groups can voice their concerns directly to members of the government, Hafez Abu Saeda, director of EOHR told Daily News Egypt.
Monday s workshop assessed the existing legal framework for combating torture in Egypt and how legislation complies with international anti-torture conventions.
Abu Saeda said that Egypt s current legislation on torture is not compatible with international anti-torture laws and suggested the law be changed.
Gasser Abdel-Razek, Middle East advocate of Human Rights Watch, reiterated Abu Saeda s claim, saying that the government should amend the law “if they are serious about abolishing torture in the country.
Participants discussed the effects of torture as well as the definition of a victim of torture.
Abu Saeda highlighted the need to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit Egypt’s prisons and other facilities where torture practices are allegedly widespread.
He added that the issue was raised at the event by a representative from a human rights organization. In response, one of the participants said that “only those concerned should be granted access to investigate prison facilities.
According to Abdel-Razek there has been a pending request from the UN Special Rapporteur to visit Egypt for years.
Several recommendations on how to fight torture practices in Egypt were drafted at the workshop.
Abu Saeda said that recommendations include amendment of article 126 of Egypt s current legislation on torture so that it conforms with international anti-torture treaties in addition to supervision of Egypt s prisons and police facilities.
Abdel-Razek also stressed the importance of allowing the public prosecutor to visit the camps and stations of the country s central security forces.
Egypt has constantly been accused by rights organizations for using torture practices despite its ratification of several international treaties that ban torture, including the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights.