The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies held a five-day training workshop on “The Promotion of local participation in the defense of human rights” in Assiut. The workshop which extended from September 20th till September 24th witnessed the participation of 50 trainees from Assiut governorate, from various age groups and intellectual orientations.
The training program of the workshop focused on an introduction to socio-economic and political rights, the situation of Egyptian legislation and the degree to which this legislation observes such rights. It also discussed the concept of local or municipal administration, Egyptian legislation regarding municipalities, the status of municipalities in constitutions all over the world, and the difference between the role of the state and that of civil society.
The workshop aimed at exchanging expertise and experiences between leading figures and activists in the field of local community action, and pressure groups at the local level. In this context, trainees designed 11 different community-based local campaigns to introduce the Right to Housing, Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Sexual Harassment, Female Education, Water Purification, and the Improvement of Public Transports. Participants improvised executive mechanisms for the campaigns in order to fulfill their objectives and raise awareness within the governorate.
The workshop concluded with a panel lecture by Mr. Mohamed Waked, researcher and political activist, in which he focused on social justice in the constitution and how the rights mentioned throughout the workshop could be, incorporated in the future constitution to ensure the administration of social justice.
Participants expressed great interest in the subject matter of the presentation, and participated quite actively in the debate, focusing mainly on mechanisms for the protection of socio-economic rights of citizens and providing immunity to such rights within the Constitution. They also expressed concern that a particular faction of stream of thought would wield and manipulate the process of drafting the Constitution, so as to achieve its own exclusive interests. A number of participants also adopted a new awareness-raising campaign regarding the significance of the upcoming Constitution and the process of drafting various articles, particularly articles related to socio-economic rights and the principles of Social Justice.
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