Addressing the new Foreign Minister: CIHRS calls for respect of human rights and an end to supporting dictatorships and continued commitment to join the International Criminal Court

In Statements and Position Papers by CIHRS

محمد العرابيThe Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) is closely monitoring developments after Mohamed al-Urabi was appointed to replace Nabil al-Arabi as Foreign Minister, hoping that Egypt’s foreign policies will evolve in the coming period to be more in keeping with the new reality following the January 25 revolution and that they will continue of the developments set in motion by Nabil al-Arabi. CIHRS also hopes that human rights principles will constitute the foundation of Egypt’s foreign policy and that the country’s policies will be based on a single standard that respects human rights. Restoring a moral basis to Egypt’s foreign policy will prove to shore up Egypt’s regional and international position.

In this context, CIHRS stresses that the foreign policies adopted prior to January 25 be reassessed, particularly the way they were harnessed to weaken international human rights mechanisms in Egypt and the world. Diplomats who played leading roles in these destructive policies should also be reevaluated, as they had a negative impact both on international instruments for the respect of human rights and Egypt’s regional and international status. It is imperative to select diplomats who are suited to the new tasks and policies of the coming era and to establish a definite time frame to guarantee the effectiveness of the desired reforms and changes.

CIHRS further urges the Foreign Minister to reconsider Egypt’s connection to several international coalitions that are hostile to human rights, in addition to the Egyptian diplomacy’s continued political support for some of the worst dictatorships in the world. The collusion with these regimes against their victims, especially from the Arab countries, whether active or implied through Egypt’s silence, is a grave insult to the martyrs of the January 25 revolution.

CIHRS calls on the Foreign Ministry to engage in several initiatives in the coming period, including signing the optional protocols of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Convention Against Torture, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Additionally, Egypt should ratify the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, a step promised by Nabil al-Arabi but which has yet to be taken. CIHRS has noticed reluctance in this regard, even after Tunisia ratified the Statute, becoming the fourth Arab state to do so.

Furthermore, CIHRS urges the Foreign Minister to take due consideration of the demands of Egyptian diplomats, submitted to Nabil al-Arabi during their protest in May, particularly their demand that the Foreign Ministry be an expression of the Egyptian national conscience and that ministry policies reflect the desires and aspirations of the Egyptian people.

CIHRS previously submitted a memo to the Foreign Ministry detailing the most important reforms needed in connection with human rights issues and their impact on Egypt’s foreign policies.

To read a copy of the memo in English, click here

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