Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim El-Heneidi informed Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb that the delegation he led to Geneva “proved to the whole world Egypt’s positive attitude with regards to human rights”.
El-Heneidi’s comments came after Egypt’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) last Wednesday at the UN headquarters in Geneva.
Egypt received 300 recommendations from 122 United Nations member states during the review, which occurs every four years. The delegates recommended Egypt amend the controversial Protest and NGO laws, address issues relating to freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.
El-Heneidi said the delegation also succeeded in “illustrating the facts of the conditions experienced by Egypt in the current period”, according to statement from the cabinet office.
Out of the 122 states, “Egypt received support from around 105 countries”, said the minister in a press conference following the meeting. He added that countries that opposed Egypt’s position are states with a “pre-position of Egypt, like Turkey”.
El-Heneidi acknowledged the 300 recommendations, saying many of them were “positive” and related to “education and housing”.
There were at least 20 recommendations that dealt with the status of civil society organisations in Egypt, and which called for a revision of the current law. The amendment would see it brought in line with provisions set out in the constitution and with “international norms”.
Seven Egyptian NGOs refused to participate in the UN UPR, citing a fear of reprisals by the Egyptian government.
The controversial Protest Law was referenced at least 13 times among the 300 recommendations, with calls to amend the law and “bring it in line with international standards”.
In Egypt’s first UPR in 2010, the delegation received 165 recommendations.
Amnesty International had a different view of Egypt’s UPR saying that its defence of its human rights record “lay in tatters”. The rights group added that “despite damning evidence of human rights violations”, the Egyptian delegation continuously rejected criticism from other UN member states.
Egypt has until March 2015 to respond to the 300 recommendations.