CIHRS Criticizes National Human Rights Council’s Bias to the Ruling Party and Kefayah’s Labelling of Political Opponents as Traitors

In International Advocacy Program by

The CIHRS expresses its concern about the statements made by the president and vice-president of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) in Al-Ahram daily on the 19th, 22nd & 27th of August 2005 in which clear bias is displayed towards the NDP&#146s candidate and his platform, and criticism is expressed, meanwhile, of other candidates&#146 platforms.

The CIHRS considers that the employment of the NCHR in propaganda in favor of the ruling party&#146s candidate undermines candidates&#146 due equal opportunities. This lies beyond the scope of the NCHR&#146s expected role as a neutral entity which is independent from the executive branch and the ruling party. It also casts doubts about the credibility of the role played by the NCHR in monitoring parliamentarian and presidential elections.

On the other hand, the CIHRS is surprised at the declarations made by the spokesperson of Kefayah movement, where parities participating in presidential elections are accused of national “treachery.” This was expressed in a demonstration in el-Dakahliya governorate, and was also published in “El-Masri el-Yom” newspaper on the 26th of August. Kefayah movement did not deny having expressed such declarations.

The CIHRS acknowledges the right of all political figures, parties and currents to freely choose their position toward presidential elections, whether to vote or abstain from voting, and to call upon citizens to vote for one candidate or the other or also abstain from voting. The CIHRS also acknowledges the right of various political figures and currents to defend their positions through propaganda, however without intimidating or accusing their opponents of betrayal, similar to “tailored” religious advisory opinions, or fatwas, that consider abstaining from elections a “sin”! This is even more serious given that we are living in a society suffering from the hazards of political and/or religious-driven terrorism.

In this respect, the CIHRS calls for adhering to the right of difference, plurality and freedom of opinion. This is to guarantee respect for the rights of others, freedom of expression and promotion of political mobility. Kefaya movement has played a vital role in such mobility. This mobility, that found its way recently to our society, would allow citizens to make political decisions on objective grounds, whether with regard to the coming elections or various other issues that human beings are entitled to differ over without necessarily being labeled as unbelievers and/or traitors and without necessarily becoming target of terrorism and oppression.

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