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Cablegate: Egypt: Reaction to Tip Tier 2 Watch List Action

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #1566 2061200
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241200Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9924

UNCLAS CAIRO 001566

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KWMN KCRM PHUM SMIG EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT: REACTION TO TIP TIER 2 WATCH LIST ACTION
PLAN

REF: SECSTATE 75360

Sensitive but unclassified, not for Internet distribution.

1. (SBU) On July 22 we delivered reftel
trafficking-in-persons (TIP) action plan to MFA Deputy
Assistant Minister for Human Rights Wael Aboulmagd,
emphasizing that the GOE needs to make measurable progress in
victim protection and in prosecutions of, and a comprehensive
legal framework to prosecute, traffickers in order for us to
raise Egypt from the Tier 2 Watch List in the 2009 TIP
report. Aboulmagd said that "we have the same goals" and
affirmed Egypt's commitment to fighting TIP, noting that the
GOE inter-ministerial anti-TIP committee - which the MFA
chairs - has a draft comprehensive anti-TIP law that it will
begin discussing throughout the GOE interagency "soon" before
presenting it to parliament in the future. (Note: The next
parliamentary session begins in November. End note.) He
noted that the draft law, which draws from similar
legislation in other countries and international models, lays
out not only punishments for traffickers but also specifies
how victims of trafficking should be protected. He added
that Egypt currently lacks NGOs and victim service centers
focused on victims of TIP. Aboulmagd claimed that experts at
that Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
(SAIS) Protection Project said the draft is "as close to
perfect as possible."

2. (SBU) However, Aboulmagd emphasized that the GOE will not
gear its efforts to the timetable of the USG's TIP report.
He said that Egypt is spending a "disproportionate" amount of
time on TIP in comparison to "more urgent" human rights
issues, such as freedom of expression and women's rights,
particularly given that Egypt "likely does not have a big
problem" in comparison to other developing countries. He
noted that the U.S. TIP criteria "is not universal," and that
some in the Egyptian public are accusing the GOE being
beholden to a "western-driven agenda" on TIP. He re-affirmed
that the GOE will continue its anti-TIP efforts and would
like to move off of the Tier 2 Watch List, but said that
"this is not a priority for us."

3. (SBU) Comment: Anti-TIP momentum is building in Egypt, and
our efforts to provide anti-TIP training for police officers
through the International Organization for Migration (IOM),
for prosecutors through the International Center for Missing
and Exploited Children (ICMEC), and for Egyptian interagency
TIP officials through a State Department International
Visitor Program (IVP) have been well-received and have
sparked further interest. It remains to be seen, however, if
the GOE can build upon this momentum to make substantive
improvements in its anti-TIP legal framework and
victim-protection regime.
SCOBEY

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