Amnesty International has called in a Tuesday statement for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) member states to challenge Egypt’s impunity on human rights violations.
The group also called in its statement for the lifting of sweeping restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and assembly, with the review of reactions to Egypt’s violations a test of UNHRC member states.
The statement came one day before the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations reviewed Egypt’s human rights record over the past four years, to take place on Wednesday.
According to the Amnesty statement, the subjects that should be addressed during UPR include: the excessive force used by security forces which resulted in the death of hundreds of protesters; rampant torture; mass arrests; the “near-total failure of the Egyptian criminal justice system”; and the need to hold accountable those responsible for unlawful killings.
“States should call Egypt out on the continued arbitrary detention of media workers, protesters and human rights activists who are languishing in prison for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly,” the statement read.
The statement added that human rights activists in Egypt fear a sweeping crackdown days after the UPR examination. This fear stems from the Ministry of Social Solidarity’s deadline of 10 November for unregistered NGOs to register themselves under a “draconian law” that many rights groups disagree with.
Other subjects should also be tackled, including Egypt’s project to expand the Suez Canal and create a security buffer zone in Sinai, both of which raised concerns over mass evictions.
French NGO, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) urged the UNHRC to pressure Egyptian authorities “to immediately put an end to the systematic human rights violations and to uphold their international legal obligations”.
The FIDH urged the repeal of Law 107/ 2013 regulating demonstrations and public meetings and for authorities to “end to the arbitrary arrest and detention of peaceful demonstrators under the provisions of this law”.
“Human rights defenders, peaceful protesters, journalists as well as political opponents continue to be targeted by the authorities for exercising their fundamental human rights such as the right to peaceful assembly, association, and expression,” FIDH said in a statement released Tuesday.
Authorities have also not taken adequate measures to combat violence against women or sexual harassment, the FIDH said.
The group said: “In the hundreds of cases of mass sexual assault against women protesters around Tahrir Square between November 2012 and January 2014, no perpetrator has yet been held to account.”
The FIDH also called for the immediate release of “all those detained for exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of expression, information, assembly and association”