Today, the Government of Egypt announced that it is extending the State of Emergency for an additional two years. This extension is regrettable given the pledge made by the government to the Egyptian people in 2005. A broad range of Egyptian voices, including Egypt’s National Council on Human Rights, have called for the elimination of the State of Emergency.
Egyptian Government also announced today that it would restrict the use of the Emergency Authority to certain categories of cases, and pledged once again to work to pass counterterrorism legislation and lift the State of Emergency. Any move to significantly narrow the application of the Emergency Law would be a step forward if it means greater protection of civil liberties for Egyptian citizens in practice. We are confident that Egypt can draft and adopt effective counterterrorism legislation that conforms to international standards for civil liberties and due process. And the United States urges Egypt to complete this legislation on an urgent basis and to rescind the State of Emergency within the coming months.
The United States understands the challenges that terrorism poses to free societies and we believe that effective counterterrorism measures can be based on legal principles that protect the rights of all citizens.
On November 5, 2010, a senior U.S. delegation will make a formal presentation of the U.S. Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The delegation will be led by Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs; Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State; and Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
The delegation will also include representatives from the Department of Justice and other U.S. Government agencies.
The Universal Periodic Review was established by the UN General Assembly in 2006 as a process through which the human rights records of each of the UN’s 192 Member States are reviewed and assessed once every four years. All UN Member States are subject to this process. This is the first such review for the United States.
The U.S. report covers the nation’s human rights record on such important freedoms as the freedoms of speech, of association, and of belief. It also examines a range of challenges, including issues of discrimination and topics related to civil liberties in the context of national security. The U.S. report was developed in consultation with a host of U.S. civil society actors and organizations.
Subsequent to the formal presentation, the U.S. delegation will host a first-of-its-kind town hall meeting with U.S. and international civil society leaders to discuss further the U.S. report. This meeting will extend the U.S. effort to promote transparency, open dialogue, and inclusion.
To read the U.S. UPR report, or learn more about the process, please visit: http://www.state.gov/g/drl/upr/index.htm