Former head of the Ibn Khaldun Center, Dalia Ziada established the Egyptian Center for Free Democracy Studies in November. Ziada has been named by US magazine Newsweek as one of the 150 most influential women in the Arab world, and by Time magazine as a Muslim Rights Champion.
Her career has spanned over a decade. However, during her time as head of the Ibn Khaldun Center, a report was issued by the centre stating that the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Nahda Square sit-ins adhered to international standards. Both the centre and Ziada have been known to adhere to government policy, particularly in the aftermath of 30 June.
How do you evaluate the human rights situation in Egypt?
Human rights issues in Egypt are facing some obstacles, but they will soon be eliminated. Despite the fact that the Egyptian constitution guarantees the stipulations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this is still just talk. We need to apply the constitution on the ground. There are several articles dealing with women, including equality between women and men, but they have yet to be implemented as well.
How do you evaluate the Protest Law and calls for it to be amended?
The existence of the law is inevitable and it should be respected. Whoever objects to the law can go and eliminate articles that play the same role in international human rights treaties if they believe in human rights so much. The law is strict to some extent, but this is what we need at present. There are also promises to amend the law in a way that allows more flexibility and less harm to the country’s interests.
What do you think about the reports released in the United States regarding torturing detainees?
The torture report revealed by the US administration on Guantanamo makes me proud of the post-30 June state. I’m wondering why Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch only took action after they were criticised; why does society not condemn these violations? Dozens of people were killed by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the state never retaliated. On the other hand, in 11 September , no more than a thousand people were killed and America retaliated against the whole world and whoever they suspected had carried out the attack. Despite all that, we did not take any exceptional actions, and yet we are blamed by international organisations.
How do you view the state’s war on terrorism and the terrorist entities law?
There was a need for the terrorist entities law. It is good to pay attention to entities that carry out terrorism, and ways to deal with them, and to label these entities correctly. The law is a logical step that should have been taken a long time ago, especially after the Muslim Brotherhood was declared a terrorist group. This also allows for the group to be properly dealt with. The presence of only one body to review these issues–the Cairo Court of Appeal—helps speed up litigation.