People's Assembly approves draft law on setting up Human Rights Council
Egypt, Politics, 6/17/2003
A draft law to establish National Human Rights Council was approved by the People's Assembly (PA), chaired by Speaker, Ahmed Fathi Sorour, yesterday. Under the law the new council will be affiliated to the Shura Council and is aimed at conserving and promoting human rights.
The council's main headquarters will be in Cairo and it will have full independence in practieing its activities.
The council will comprise a chairman and twenty members drawn from public figures, who have long experience of or are interested in human rights issues.
The council will also draw up a plan to promote and protect human rights in Egypt and suggest ways to implement it.
It will also receive all complaints in this field to study them and then refer them to the concerned authorities.
Permanent committees affiliated to the council will be formed in the areas of civil, political, economic and union rights.
The National Human Rights Council will produce an annual report on its activities and submit suggestions, within the framework of its specialization, to be presented to President Hosni Mubarak and the PA Speaker.
Minister of Justice Counsellor Farouk Seif Al Nasr said that President Mubarak was keen not to affiliate the Human Rights Council to the Presidency or that it be established by a Republican Decree in order to ensure its independence.
Tagammu Party Chairman Khaled Mohieddin said the National Human Rights Council is a "new experience and a step forward which we welcome."
ΚΚΚ Wafd Party representative Fakhry Abdel Nour said that the Council is a message of respect of human rights and an expression of the good intentions of the government. He welcomed the step.
Representative of the Nasserite Party Hussein Boghdady approved the bill and said it "added much to democracy."
Some members called on the government to announce names of the council's members and its chairman. They challenged that the new council should group representatives of all political currents. It's worth mentioning that the 16 members who represent the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan Moslemeen) approved the draft law, which comes in line with the Islamic Shari'a. They expressed hope that the government would take other steps for public freedoms.
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