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Citizens left without rights

EOHR annual report reveals deterioration in civil, political and economic rights two years into the revolution

The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) claimed in its annual report, released Tuesday, persistent violations of citizen’s rights.

The 94-page report, released to coincide with the 25 January revolution’s second anniversary, provided a comprehensive account of all the breaches to civil, political and economic rights throughout 2012.

Tackling all sections of the newly passed constitution, the EOHR stated that the constitution failed to meet the minimum level of the peoples’ expectations. It also provided a comparison of the 2012 constitution and the 1971 constitution, where the 2012 constitution lagged behind in a number of aspects.

The report listed breached civil and political rights, including; the right to live, the right to be free and safe, and the right to peacefully protest. The EOHR observed 165 cases of torture inside police stations, 17 of which possibly led to death. Twelve cases of women held hostage and tortured inside police stations were also noted. The women in question weren’t charged with any crimes; they were used as bait to catch suspects. The report stated that the cases mentioned are only examples and not a full account of all the torture cases which occurred in 2012.

The report described the condition of freedom of expression in 2012 as “gloomy.” EOHR director Hafez Abu Se’da stated in a press conference held Tuesday that the organisation observed 356 breaches of the freedom of expression, exercised by the regime against journalists, media practitioners and bloggers. The report outlined 23 cases of attacking journalists and media practitioners, as well as the killing of journalist Al-Hosseini Abu Deif.

Shot in the head while reporting on the 5 December Presidential Palace clashes, Abu Deif’s death was seen by human rights activists as an assassination. Abu Se’da described the journalist’s killing as a “dangerous development” in the crackdown on freedom of expression.

Among the tactics allegedly used to crackdown on freedom of expression is the trend of attacking news outlets. The report provided ten examples, most notably the termination of the satellite transmission of the independent Dream Channel, and confiscating issues of independent Al-Dostour newspaper in August.

As for citizens’ social and economic rights, they were described in the report as forgotten. It recounted different economic problems suffered in 2012 such as the increase in poverty rates to reach 25.2%, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. Other problems cited were; the deteriorating condition of general health and the wage crisis. The report also mentioned that the unemployment rate increased by 3.1% in 2012 to reach 12%.
Several Egyptian human rights organisations have released similar reports recently. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) released a group of reports Tuesday claiming that the revolution did not put an end to police brutality; the extent of torture at the hands of the police might even be on the rise.

The reports come as opposition groups prepare for the second anniversary of the revolution. Political movements announced they would take to the streets on Friday, calling for almost the same demands which pushed people to protest two years ago.

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