AT THE SAME TIME that we are holding these meetings here in Ireland, thousands of Egyptians are demonstrating in Tahrir Square. They are opposing the military trials targeting civilians, as well as the Emergency Law Act that was imposed on Egypt by the Military Supreme Council. The army is the new authority figure in Egypt that is an extension of the Mubarak regime. Yesterday, Mohammed Gad Al Rab, best known by the name Sambo, was prosecuted in a military trial. He was sentenced to five years jail time.
A couple of dates or events best describe the nature of human rights in Egypt and the situation of human right defenders. The Military Supreme Council in Egypt replaced Mubarak after he stepped down as the legitimate government figure, but they continued using the same methods Mubarak used as a president. I will quickly highlight a few issues; the prosecution of civilians in military courts; torture in military prisons against non-military individuals; the human rights violation of the right to freedom of speech and expression. Two days ago, the Al Jazeera television office in Egypt was closed. Generally speaking, wide violations in regards to human rights have been committed by the Military Council. In spite of the situation, human rights defenders are solidly and explicitly resisting these violations, symbolically represented by Tahrir Square.
The other point I would like to stress is the position of human rights defenders in Egypt, and in the Arab region or worldwide. I think their position is linked strongly to the opposition of authoritarian dictatorship. In the early stages of the Egyptian revolution, and when secret police and army soldiers broke into our offices in the Hisham Mubarak’s Law Centre and detained my colleagues, we were sure we were on the right pathway, supporting the right group.
Finally, I think we as human rights defenders shall not trust governments steered by personal interests. These are the same governments that supported the authoritarian Governments of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Israel. They also support dictatorships everywhere, but we as human rights defenders should be steered by human values and principles. Working toward a better world where human rights are respected and the only things that control it are law and democracy. Thank you!
In the early stages of the Egyptian revolution, and when secret police and army soldiers broke into our offices in the Hisham Mubarak’s Law Centre and detained my colleagues, we were sure we were on the right pathway, supporting the right group.