ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 2 September 2009 - Yesterday, ARTICLE 19 provided a Submission outlining key freedom of expression issues regarding Egypt to the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The Submission highlights Egypt's excessive criminal restrictions on freedom of expression, the lack of right to information legislation and the repressive system of media regulation in Egypt, as well as restrictions on freedom of assembly and association.
The UPR, established in March 2006, is a new human rights mechanism through which the UN Human Rights Council" (HRC) periodically reviews the human rights performance of all UN Member States. The goal is to promote better respect by UN members for their human rights obligations.
The Submission highlights the following concerns:- The Penal Code, along with the Emergency Law, which has been in effect continuously since 1981, unduly restricts freedom of expression, including through its criminal defamation provisions.- Egypt has yet to adopt right to information legislation ensuring access to information held by public bodies.- The media at all levels - journalists, print media and broadcasters - are subject to regulatory constraints that breach the right to freedom of expression.- Harsh restrictions unduly limit the rights to freedom of assembly and association, both in law and in practice.
ARTICLE 19 calls on the Egyptian authorities to bring their law and practice in these areas into line with international standards.