[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Monday called on [report, PDF] Egypt’s newly elected parliament to pursue an agenda to reform nine areas of Egyptian law [press release] that impede freedom and restrict rights. Some of the reforms urged include ending the state of emergency, reforming police law and expanding freedom of expression. In the report, HRW said:
Over the past year, Egyptians have experienced many of the same human rights abuses that characterized Mubarak’s police state. Under the leadership of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), excessive use of force, torture, attacks on peaceful protests, and arbitrary arrests of peaceful protesters, bloggers, and journalists have become commonplace and illustrate how little has changed. Ending these abuses will only occur when there is political will to break with the past and truly reform the country’s oppressive machinery.
The report also prescribes strengthening the criminal penalties for police abuse, amending Egypt’s definition of torture to be in line with international standards and allowing independent NGOs to operate lawfully in the country.
In November HRW urged [JURIST report] the Egyptian government to release Alaa Abd El Fattah [blog; Twitter feed], a blogger and activist who engaged in protests and accused the SCAF of committing abuses. Also in November the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] expressed [JURIST report] in its briefing notes [text] concerns over Egypt’s limitations on freedom of expression and association. In October HRW reported [JURIST report] that proposed Egyptian political corruption law amendments had the potential for abuse.