Egypt Human Rights
Human Rights Concerns
The Jan. 25 uprising that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak did not come out of nowhere. For decades, Egyptians activists and civil society leaders had protested the widespread use of torture and other ill-treatment; grossly unfair trials of civilians before military and emergency courts; restrictions on the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. Other issues included legal and other discrimination against members of religious and ethnic minorities; arrests and prosecutions of people for their actual or alleged sexual orientation; and the maltreatment of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants, including through the use of excessive, including lethal force.
In the aftermath of Mubarak's resignation, the Egyptian military put in place a governing council with a promise of a transition to a newly elected government. In February, Amnesty International released a Human Rights Agenda for Change listing the steps we believe are necessary to fulfill these promises. These steps include:
- The state of emergency must be lifted immediately, arbitrary arrests halted and the whereabouts of all those detained revealed.
- The authorities must publicly condemn torture and move swiftly to eradicate it. Allegations of torture must be investigated, the perpetrators brought to justice and reparations provided to the victims.
- The authorities must order independent investigations into all cases where the security forces are reported to have used excessive force.
- Egyptians must be allowed to speak and act freely. The authorities must not criminalize the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.
- The Egyptian judicial system must be reformed to ensure its independence and provide oversight of the security forces.