Egyptian observer speaks at the Human Rights Council

National dialogue in Egypt has “already started,” claimed the Egyptian delegation in a Monday statement at the opening session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The delegation gave a briefing regarding the status of human rights in Egypt amid recent political turmoil while affirming that “Egypt is fully determined to complete the transition to democracy while protecting human rights in the process.”

The statement was given by Ambassador Wafaa Bassim, the permanent representative of Egypt to the United Nations office at Geneva.

“Egypt has initiated activities and discussions which include all political parties,” the ambassador said. “The Prosecutor General has ordered a thorough investigation and an independent national fact-finding committee has been assigned to investigate recent killings.”

Bassim highlighted to the council the political steps that are being adopted to fulfill the roadmap including the draft constitution. She also underlined future steps, such as an expected referendum on the constitution and presidential elections, with all steps being “in parallel with national conciliation without exclusion to any party.”

Niva Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed her alarm at the continuing violence in Egypt, while stressing the importance of “establishing rule of law in an inclusive manner which ensures that all Egyptians, irrespective of their political opinion, gender, religion, or status, are recognised as legitimate stakeholders in the future of their country.”

Pillay also announced that a North African regional office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will be established soon in Egypt while she has sent “authorities a draft agreement for the establishment of the office in Cairo.”

The high commissioner explained that she is waiting on a “positive response” to office’s “request to deploy a mission to assess the situation.”

Most delegations within the council expressed their concern with the current situation in Egypt calling on “an end to violence, including acts of terror and a dedication by all parties to commit themselves to a democratic situation.”

In a statement released by the Egyptian delegation, it stressed on the key goals of the 30 June protests while also highlighting human rights infractions during the previous Morsi regime.

The statement described the events by the Morsi regime as “ones which would have led Egypt to a religious fascist era which would bring back memories of harsh experiences by humanity as a whole.”

The delegation explained that the “Egyptian government expresses regret for the loss of human life while it remains dedicated to the protection of human lives.”

Bassim announced to the council that a side event will be held by the Egyptian delegation on Wednesday to describe the “efforts undertaken by human rights and civil society organisations” in Egypt. The delegation is comprised of Hafez Abo Saeda, president of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, Esmat Al Sadat, president of the Reform and Development Party, and Ambassador Mahmoud Karem.

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