CIHRS Inaugurates the First Training Course for Youth of Egyptian Political Parties Jointly with NDP, Wafd and Tagamu’ Leaders

In Human Rights Education Program, Trainings and Workshops by

On February 13th 2007, the First Course for Youth of Egyptian Political Parties was opened with the participation of Dr. Ali El Din Hilal, NDP Media Officer, Essam Shiha, member of the Supreme Council of the Wafd Party, Mohammed Farag, Central Socialization Officer at the Tagamu&#146 Party (The National Progressive Unionist Bloc), and Bahey El Din Hassan, CIHRS Director. The opening addresses dealt with the role of the youth in political life, the necessity of the concept of citizenship in the endeavor to establish a real civil state where all citizens enjoy legal and political equality, where both the constitution and the law are respected and their implementation in circumstances providing parliamentary and popular supervision.

Hilal said, “The concept of human rights is central to any real democratic development” and called upon party youth, including NDP youth, to question their parties regarding the situation of the youth in their platforms. He stressed that both the Constitution and the law should be respected. In this context he said, “Reaching the seats of power is a legitimate objective for all opposition parties. If parties did not seek power, they would be similar to social associations”.

Mr. Shiha was sarcastic about the statement of the Minister of Higher Education, where he spoke about “the possibility of student engagement in political action inside universities, provided they avoid political parties!”.

Mr. Farag stressed that political parties have been banned for a long time, then were authorized while restricting their activities for several decades. This created a political vacuum that is filled by politicized and non-politicized religious groups.

The program targets a group of youth belonging to parties and political movements (official and non-official), with the participation of 20 young men and women from five parties, namely: the NDP, the Wafd, Al Ghad, Nasserite Party and Tagamu&#146), in addition to participants from the Muslim Brothers, the Democratic Party (in formation), the Liberal Youth Union, and Youth for Change from five governorates: Cairo, Gharbiya, Dakahliya, Souhag, and Assiout). Lecturers and trainers include academics, journalists and human rights activists.

The program of the course includes a variety of training sessions and working groups dealing with means of acquiring skills of communication with different categories of people, influencing them and gaining their support for youth cause. Furthermore, the youth would be familiarized with the political impact of the phenomenon of torture inflicted upon citizens in police stations. A roundtable discussion would also take place among participants on the role of party and independent press in issues of political reform, the advantages and defects of the electoral system, the crisis of student unions, the extent to which Egyptian universities need to genuinely become independent from the executive authority and security control, and the future of protest movements in light of the receding political dynamism.

The program includes also training on international human rights conventions and instruments that Egypt had ratified, as well as a study of the status of citizenship within Egyptian party platforms, the position of widespread blogging among the youth on political action, the general status of women and their impacts on women&#146s participation in public action. Finally, the agenda includes the issue of independence of jurists and political reform in Egypt.


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