Two days ago, Egypt's National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) began its convention addressing the crisis of "citizenship." Invited were representatives of the Christian (Coptic), Muslim and Baha'i religions, as well as all government ministries, agencies and civil authorities. On opening the convention, NCHR's president, Dr. Bouros Boutros-Ghali, called for the formation of a permanent national anti-discrimination league. The league would be charged with the elimination of any form of discrimination based on religion, gender or ethnic origin. It would be similar to other international agencies such as the ones in Morocco, France and the United States of America.
Today, Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper published an article in which it announced that the Human Rights Committee of Egypt's Parliament [Maghlis Al-Shaab] has decided to invite the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the president of the National Council for Human Rights to work on proposed corrective legislation in response to the various reports released by regional, national and international human rights organizations.
This parliamentarian committee will study and implement the recommendations put forth by the National Council for Human Rights. It will also examine and respond to the many complaints filed by Egyptian citizens residing in and outside the country. The committee will adhere to international human rights standards, in particular those of the African and Arab region. It will also share the outcome of its deliberations with the members of the parliament so that the parliament's opinion can be promoted among the public, both nationally and internationally.
Clearly, this development appears to be a very positive one. It implies that the findings and recommendations of the National Council for Human Rights--a government-appointed advisory council--are indeed enforceable through actions of the parliament. Also, equally important is that the parliament is seriously considering and addressing the findings of other regional, national and international human rights organizations. Egypt is to be congratulated on this very significant and progressive milestone towards a stable and equitable civil society.