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NGOs issue statement to Egyptian parliament on enforcement of constitutional and human rights

[JURIST] Thirteen non-government organizations on Saturday issued a joint statement to the Egyptian parliament, giving recommendations to make certain the enforcement of constitutional and human rights. The call comes during a time of continuing national and regional security concerns in the nation. A major recommendation in the statement [Daily News report] was that parliament review all laws enforced since the Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt was ratified by public referendum in 2014. An article of the Egyptian Constitution states that the House of Representatives must discuss all laws that have been issued in its absence within 15 days of its assembly. The organizations wrote:

We call on the parliament to particularly re-evaluate legislations that were passed in the past five years, as there is still a lack of protection of basic rights and freedoms, and often contradict constitutional guarantees... The constitutional text is clear. As so, we condemn attempts by some members to interpret the text as if the requirement does not apply on the current parliament.
Some representatives, including Ali Abdul Aal, have argued that such discussion is not required, claiming that the article only applies to “normal circumstances where the parliament is on vacation or is temporarily suspended, not in emergency times such as the post-30-June period.”

Of particular concern with Egypt's constitutional and human rights is the prosecution and imprisonment of journalists by the Egyptian government, which has garnered widespread criticism from governments and rights groups worldwide. Last month Egyptian lawyer Nasser Amin challenged a law [JURIST report] that allows for writers to be jailed for writings that violate Egyptian "morals." In August Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi approved [JURIST report] a 54-article counter-terrorism law that has been met with significant controversy, as many believe it infringes on the freedom of the press. Many have said that the law defines terrorism too broadly and imposes harsh sentences and fines on violators. Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized [JURIST report] Egypt's new counterterrorism law saying it infringes on freedom of the press. HRW opposes the fact that the new law gives prosecutors the power to detain suspects without a court order.

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