Yesterday evening, Tuesday, January 7th, Mr. Ban Ki -moon, Secretary -General of the United Nations, met with Bahey Eldin Hassan, Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
As reported by the UN spokesman, they discussed the human rights situation and political climate in Egypt, as well as regional issues of common interest. The Secretary-General expressed interest in the work of Arab and Egyptian human rights organizations in promoting and implementing universal principles and standards of human rights.
The meeting included, Asif Khan, Deputy Director of for Political Affairs, Peacekeeping and humanitarian Affairs in the Office of the Secretary-General, Taye-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary-General for African Affairs , and Samuel Martel, Political Affairs Officer in the Department of Political Affairs, Africa Division. Hassan also had the opportunity to hold 2 other meetings with UN officials He also is meeting today the UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and with international human rights NGOs.
Bahey Eldin Hassan said later that Ban Ki-moon had expressed his appreciation for the strong cooperation between UN and CIHRS and expressed grave concern over the imprisonment of prominent young political activists in Egypt.
During yesterday’s meetings Hassan addressed the continuing deterioration of human rights in the Arab world, reflecting on the outbreak of civil wars, widespread acts of terror and mounting political assassinations and extrajudicial killings, as well as gross violations of basic human rights in an increasing number of countries in the region. With regards to Egypt, he pointed to the escalating problem of terrorism, the excessive use of force and bloody crackdown by the Government, and the inability of the judicial system to hold accountable the perpetrators of massacres and gross human rights violations before and after the revolution of January 25, and the judiciary’s failure to prevent the consequent governments from employment of the courts in punishing their political opponents, as major areas of concern. Hassan noted that these structural issues have lead to substantive human rights deterioration and has undermined rule of law. In this context, he fears that the current fact finding commission will be similar to previous 2 commissions, appointed under SCAF and the Muslim Brotherhood, whose full reports have yet to be released to the public, and whose work has not led to the perpetrators of crimes and massacres been held accountable, due to lack of political will and lack of independence of the judicial system.
Hassan made several recommendations concerning the role of the United Nations in the Arab world in general, as well as relating to certain countries like Palestine, Syria, Libya, Yemen , Bahrain, and Egypt . At the end of the meeting, he promised Ban-Ki moon that CIHRS would submit a detailed memo to him.. He handed the Secretary General a copy of CIHRS’s’ annual report “Delivering Democracy” which addresses the human rights situation in the Arab world.
This post is also available in: العربية