World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Egyptian Presidential declaration conflicts with obligations


Pillay says Egyptian Presidential declaration conflicts with international obligations


GENEVA (30 November 2012) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has urged the President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, to reconsider the Constitutional Declaration issued last week, saying a number of measures contained in it are incompatible with international human rights law. She further warned that approving a constitution in these circumstances could be a deeply divisive move.

Pillay welcomed the efforts to reach out to the judiciary and political parties, but said they were “not yet sufficient” to prevent Egypt reneging on binding principles laid down in the two overarching international human rights treaties – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights -- which Egypt ratified in 1982.

“The three slogans of the Egyptian Revolution, were liberty, freedom and social justice,” she said Friday. “These same principles underlie all international human rights law, including both Covenants. In order for them to be achieved, there need to be prompt, effective and impartial investigations, truth-seeking processes, judicial accountability mechanisms, and reparation programmes, as well as a strengthening of institutional reform and guaranteeing of non-recurrence of the violations that were rampant during the Mubarak era.”

In a letter addressed to the Egyptian President on Tuesday, the High Commissioner noted the efforts made so far, since the successful May-June elections, “in combating human rights violations, countering impunity and ensuring transparency and accountability at all levels.”

She outlined the areas where the Constitutional Declaration opens the door to violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in particular the right to effective remedy, access to justice as well as the guarantees for the independence of the judiciary.

· Article I of the Constitutional Declaration, provides for the re-trial of ‘anyone who held a political or executive position under the former regime.’

“I understand the need to address past human rights violations and the public dissatisfaction,” Pillay said, but pointed out that Article 14, paragraph 7 of the Covenant stipulates that ‘no one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country.’
.
· Article II of the Constitutional Declaration prohibits any legal challenge to any ‘previous constitutional declarations, laws, and decrees made by the president since he took office on 30 June 2012, until the constitution is approved and a new People’s Assembly is elected.’

“In my view, this provision contravenes the fundamental notion of the rule of law by placing the President’s actions outside judicial scrutiny, and not permitting any legal challenge, irrespective of its substance,” Pillay said. “This encroachment on the role of the judiciary in a democratic society is inconsistent with Article 14, paragraph 1 of the Covenant that guarantees the independence of the judiciary.”

· Article II of the Constitutional Declaration also annuls all lawsuits presently before the courts relating to ‘previous constitutional declarations, laws, and decrees made by the president since he took office on 30 June 2012.’

“Denying access to the courts to those who may wish to legally challenge presidential actions is contrary to Article 2, paragraph 3 of the Covenant,” Pillay said, noting that paragraph 3 stipulates that a State Party to the Covenant ‘undertakes to ensure that any person, whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated, shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.’

· Article V of the Constitutional Declaration states that ‘no judicial body can dissolve the Shura Council or the Constituent Assembly.’

“This is incompatible with the principle of the independence of the judiciary, as well as with Article 2 of the Covenant, which affirms the right to an effective remedy including in the context of elections,” Pillay said.

The High Commissioner also commented on concerns about the composition of the Constituent Assembly, noting that “Any proper constitution-making process must include adequate representation of the full political spectrum, men and women, minorities, and civil society, which was not seen to be the case with this Constituent Assembly.”

She expressed concerns about the unfolding events in Egypt and warned against taking divisive measures such as adopting a Constitution that may lead to further escalation and tension.

In her letter to the President, Pillay stressed that she fully understood the difficult challenges the Egyptian President is facing, but urged him to reconsider the Declaration so that the various problems it was designed to address can be confronted by measures that are “in conformity with international human rights principles.”

“It is within the legal prerogatives and political responsibility of President Morsi to address these concerns in conformity with international human rights principles,” she said.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

West Papua: “Lest We Forget”

AS Anzac approaches and Australians and New Zealanders remember those who fought and lost their lives on Anzac Day, it is hoped we will also remember the unfree people of the Pacific region and in particular those who are still suffering from human ... More>>

Iran: 81 Executions In One Week

Coincident with mass executions in the prisons of Ghezel-Hessar, Karaj and other cities, the anti-human regime of mullahs sent 16 other prisoners to the gallows in Mashhad and Birjand (northeastern Iran). Twelve of them were hanged collectively ... More>>

Al-Shabaab: Four Unicef Staff Killed In Somalia

Four UNICEF staff members have been killed in an attack on their vehicle in Garowe, Somalia. Four other UNICEF colleagues are in a serious condition. The IED (improvised explosive device) attack occurred when the staff were travelling from their guest ... More>>

UN: Suicide Attack In Jalalabad Condemned

NEW YORK/KABUL/GENEVA (18April 2015) – “I strongly condemn the brutal suicide attack that coincided with my visit to Jalalabad today,” said United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović during his visit to Afghanistan. ... More>>

Save The Children: STC Urges EU Leaders To Act To Prevent More Mass Drownings

Save the Children Urges EU Leaders to Act to Prevent More Mass Drownings at Sea. More>>

ALSO:

Japan: Independent Experts Slam Japan’s New Whaling Plan

Independent experts slam Japan’s new whaling plan and declare no more whales need to be killed for Antarctic research More>>

Gaza Strip: Attacks In The Border Areas

Following disengagement from the Gaza Strip in September 2005, Israel unilaterally and illegally established a so-called “buffer zone”, an area prohibited to Palestinians along the land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip. The precise area designated by ... More>>

Australian Government: Iraq Deployment: Joint Press Conference, Canberra

Back in March, the Government announced that we were preparing a force for a Building Partner Capacity training mission in Iraq. I can inform you that today the Cabinet has decided to deploy that force. The deployment will start tomorrow and we expect ... More>>

UNHRC: UN Committee Against Torture To Review New Zealand

UN Committee against torture to review New Zealand, Congo, Romania, Luxembourg, Spain, Serbia, Colombia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia More>>

UNHRC: Nigeria: One Year On, Call To Bring Back Abducted Children

Nigeria: One year on, UN and African experts call for decisive steps to bring back abducted children More>>

EU & US Let Iran Win Top Seat On UN Women’s Rights Board

EU & US Allowed Iran to Win Top Seat on UN Women’s Rights Board, Rights Group Says More>>

Peaceful Tree Planting Attacked By Zionist Settlers/soldiers

Peaceful tree planting attacked by zionist settlers and soldiers, two Palestinians hospitalised and a German activist arrested. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news