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Cablegate: Egypt: Government Forming Inter-Ministerial Body

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #6377 2891401
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161401Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2011
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS CAIRO 006377

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC STAFF FOR RICK WATERS
DEPT FOR G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV KCRM EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT: GOVERNMENT FORMING INTER-MINISTERIAL BODY
TO ADDRESS TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS (TIP)


Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) On October 12, MFA Assistant Minister for
Multilateral Affairs Naela Gabr told Charge the GOE is
creating an inter-ministerial body to coordinate TIP policy.
Gabr acknowledged the Prime Minister's office has not yet
issued the decree establishing the new coordinating body (it
is due out in coming weeks), but argued that the
organization is established, and that the "national
machinery" to tackle TIP is in place. The GOE's TIP
committee will be chaired by MFA, with input from Interior,
Justice, and the Public Prosecutor, among others. Gabr said
the committee will also coordinate with quasi-governmental
bodies like the National Councils for Women and Human Rights,
and NGOs. The Charge thanked Gabr and said the USG looks
forward to working with the GOE to effect improvements in
legislation, prosecution, victim protection, and awareness
raising.

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2. (SBU) Gabr protested Egypt's Tier 2 Watchlist designation,
saying "this category doesn't reflect the situation." She
pressed the Charge on how the USG determines the estimated
number of TIP victims alleged to transit Egypt. The Charge
acknowledged that USG estimates, based on anecdotal press
reports and Israeli reports, are not exact. The Charge urged
Gabr to focus GOE energies on taking action against
trafficking regardless of the exact size of the problem. The
key, said the Charge, is for the GOE to take credible actions
demonstrating its clear commitment to tackle TIP, and get
Egypt off the Tier 2 Watchlist.

3. (SBU) Gabr and her deputy, Office Director for Human
Rights Ehab Gamal Eldin, repeated familiar complaints about
the USG's assessment of TIP in Egypt, including the following:
--Egypt is neither a country of origin nor destination and
thus cannot be expected to undertake efforts like origin or
destination countries;
--the GOE strongly doubts that there is significant internal
trafficking of minors for the purposes of domestic labor
(although the new inter-ministerial committee will assess
this issue); and
--the GOE wonders if the total number of TIP victims going
through Sinai, which Gabr allowed might be 100 per year,
truly merited the resources and effort being devoted to the
question.

4. (SBU) Charge reminded Gabr that the State Department
report listed additional concerns about trafficking internal
to Egypt, such as child trafficking. Also, he suggested that
a thorough assessment of all these problems might lead to
clearer policy choices. Gabr demurred.

5. (SBU) On October 15, Public Prosecutor (Attorney General
equivalent) Abdel Meguid Mahmoud confirmed to ECPO Minister
Counselor that the Prime Minister's office would issue the
decree launching the new TIP committee "within a few weeks."
Mahmoud also expressed reservations about the accuracy of USG
information on TIP in Egypt, but emphasized the GOE is fully
committed to using existing and new mechanisms to combat and
eradicate TIP.

6. (SBU) Comment: Gabr's admission that the GOE has formed a
new commission focused on trafficking is welcome, though we
will continue to push the GOE to take greater ownership of
the problem. We will be meeting with other GOE players on
TIP in the next few weeks and will reinforce our message
about the need for prompt GOE action.
JONES

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