UN expert finds Egypt’s willingness to discuss human rights ‘encouraging’

Special Rapporteur Martin Scheinin

21 April 2009 – The willingness of the Government to discuss the subject of upholding human rights while countering terrorism is “most encouraging,” an independent United Nations expert said today.

“I was able to have open and extensive discussions with key stakeholders regarding the country’s counter terrorism law and practices,” Martin Scheinin, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, said on concluding a visit to the Middle Eastern country.

The primary purpose of the visit, he explained, was to engage with officials and experts regarding a counter terrorism law that is intended to replace the state of emergency, scheduled to end on 28 May 2010.

During his four-day visit, Mr. Scheinin met with the Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and officials in the ministries of foreign affairs, interior and justice, and also consulted with lawyers, academics, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and diplomats.

He also met with the Chief of the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court, the Public Prosecution and high-level representatives of the Egyptian Council of Human Rights and Parliament, including the President of the People’s Assembly, he said.

“I will continue my dialogue with Egypt with a view to submitting a full public report on its counter-terrorism law and practice by the end of 2009,” Mr. Scheinin said, stressing that the report will include finding and recommendations for consideration by the UN Human Rights Council.

In that context, he discussed with authorities his wish to visit Egypt again in the near future, he said

Mr. Scheinin, a Professor of Public International Law at the European University Institute, reports to the Human Rights Council in an independent, unpaid capacity, as do all UN Special Rapporteurs.


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