Thursday, July 19, 2007

Egypt's Project for Law Against Discrimination

In the 17 July 2007 issue of Egypt's Nahdet Misr newspaper, an article was published describing Egypt's new project for a law that will prohibit discrimination between its citizens.

The article explains that Egypt's National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) was charged by the government with the responsibility of proposing a law that would eliminate all forms of discrimination in Egypt, including "the official resolution of the situation of the Baha'is, the inclusion of Copts living abroad in their deliberations, and addressing the prevailing trend of torture."

The NCHR will hold a convention on "citizenship" next November, which will address the matter of equal opportunity for all Egyptian citizens. Its recommendations will be passed on to the Egyptian Parliament in its forthcoming session that will address the elimination of all forms of discrimination between the citizens of Egypt.

In preparation for the November convention, the Council will hold several workshops/symposia. The first of which will be held on 30 July to discuss several issues regarding the ratification of the status of citizenship in Egypt, as well as preparing a law on equal opportunity and the elimination of discrimination between citizens.

A second session will be held on 18 August that will examine the problems facing Egyptians living abroad. It will address several issues of importance affecting that segment of citizens.

A third workshop will focus on the apparent prevalent trend of torture in Egypt and compensation for victims of torture.

A fourth workshop will address the crisis of official identity documents for adherents of religions that are not recognized in Egypt as "divine." Muhammad Fa'eq, Secretary General of the Arabic Network for Human Rights and chairman of the civil and political rights committee of the Council stated that this does not imply the official recognition of these religions, but its main goal is to guarantee the rights of these citizens to acquire official papers and identity documents that would allow them to have a normal life. This will also include those who have changed their religion.

Fa'eq confirmed that the Council will use examples of laws from Australia and Sweden in its efforts to find "a radical solution" for the elimination of discrimination and the implementation equal opportunity. He also asserted that Copts living abroad will be provided with the opportunity to participate in this project.

This is a huge step forward for Egypt in its efforts to find "radical solutions" for the civil and human rights crises that have plagued the country recently. The intentions of this project clearly conform to the high standards expected from such a nation that is endowed with the world's most ancient great civilization. If Egypt embarks and remains on such a path, its future will definitely be brighter and it can become again a beacon of light for the rest to admire.


  1. This is definitely a step in the right direction. The People's Assembly has the final authority to make the project for law against discrimination, once developed, into actual law for implementation. I hope this process does not take too long while children are waiting without birth certificates, widows are waiting without pensions, and bereaved families wait for death certificates.

  2. My Dear Friend,
    Sometime I can pretend to say a few jokes but I have a great respect and admiration of Egiptian Bahá'is - your present and past, the recognition like an independent Religion and not heresy was in Egypt. And obviously future.


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