The United Nations Development Program’s September 2021 Egypt Human Development Report was the subject of criticism for its “false and misleading claims” apparently aimed at “whitewashing grave violations of international human rights law committed by the Egyptian government and security forces” as asserted in a joint letter (that was published on 22 November) by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International.
Two days later, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner – in a response addressed to CIHRS director Bahey eldin Hassan – noted the comments about the UNDP’s development reporting in Egypt. Steiner agreed to hold a meeting on 17 December to begin dialogue on the report with representatives of the organizations and Dr. Khalida Bouzar, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States.
In their initial 22 November letter, the three rights organizations provided recommendations that intend to counteract the dangerous implications of the UNDP’s 2021 September Development report. By lending credibility to the Egyptian government’s routine denial and distortion of the country’s human rights crisis, the UN agency’s report – if it remains published without revision – serves to sanction and encourage the severe human rights violations and abuses committed by the authoritarian government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose systemic repression and brutality is unprecedented in Egypt’s modern history.
CIHRS anticipates that the 17 December meeting will represent an opportunity to begin implementing their recommendations, which center upon revising the UNDP report in line with the United Nations’ human-rights based approach to development and in meaningful consultation with independent civil society and UN human rights mechanisms. Pending the revision, the report must be retracted and a public investigation opened into the circumstances surrounding its drafting and publication.
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