The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has criticised the newly approved Egyptian protest law as “seriously flawed,” urging the government to amend it.
Navi Pillay on Tuesday detailed the main flaws of the law, including unclear wording, excessive sanctions and mounting measures that security forces can use in dealing with protesters.“International law requires precision in detailing what specific conduct is prohibited by law,” she said.
Article 7 states that violations of general security, public order, or production are prohibited, as well as disrupting public interests. Pillay dismissed the wording as lacking clear definition as to what this entails.
A final version of the protest law was issued Sunday after being approved by interim President Adly Mansour. The law stirred controversy when first introduced for public debate, leading to widespread criticism from local and international rights groups. Comments and amendments were added before submitting it to Mansour, yet the final version was dubbed oppressive by many political forces.
Controversial articles include requirements on protest organisers to notify authorities three days in advance of their aims and demands, as well as heavy jail terms and fines for individuals who break the law.
“This is a country whose people have proclaimed loudly, clearly, courageously and repeatedly their desire to be able to demonstrate peacefully in accordance with their international human rights,” Pillay said. “Egyptian civil society organisations and human rights defenders raised many concerns, but unfortunately these have not been taken into account.”
The country has been embroiled in political turmoil since the January 25 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak. A similar popular movement led to the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi by the military two years later. see more