Equal Rights for All Egyptians
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To: The Egyptian Government
His Excellency Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to you to express our deep concern over the latest attacks on the defenseless Christian citizens of Al-Udeisat village in Luxor, which took place on January 18, 2006. The attacks left behind two dead, scores injured, many lives shattered and properties destroyed. To our astonishment, the violence - according to Egyptian press - was instigated by some members of the National Democratic Party, local government and security officials.
As you well know Mr. President, the violence at al-Udeisat is no separate incident. It represents a recurrence of grave violations of human rights under both Egypt’s Constitution and international human rights law, specifically the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
For instance, human rights abuses committed in Al-Udeisat, to list a few, included the violation of the right to life of two innocent citizens Mr. Kamal Shaker and George Shehata, aged 9 (ICCPR, article 6), the right to sanctity of homes of individuals attacked in their homes (Egyptian Constitution, article 44), their right to equality before the law (ICCPR, article 2 and Egyptian Constitution, article 40), and most certainly their right to freely practice and manifest their religion in a place of worship (ICCPR, article 18 and the Egyptian Constitution, article 46)
In addition, the right of Christian victims to an effective legal remedy under (ICCPR, article 2(3) and the Egyptian Constitution, article 57) is threatened by the disheartening reality of the inability or unwillingness of the Government to pursue and bring to justice the perpetrators of such crimes, and to compensate the victims.
It is indeed alarming to see violations that have persisted since the early 1970’s, spreading allover the country, with no practical measures to protect the Coptic minority and assure social peace.
There is no doubt, however, that the Government of Egypt has to some degree made progress towards addressing the concerns of its Christian citizen, but the tragedy of Al-Udeisat and similar incidents proved that attempts made at the highest political levels aiming at enacting reforms are often challenged by the lower echelons of the Government’s power structures.
The failure to implement Presidential decrees and to uphold the law not only defeat your leadership’s efforts to improve the human rights situation of the Copts, but also embarrasses Egypt in a time when more States than ever are making leaps forward towards protecting human rights.
As the tide of democratization ushers in the Middle East region, Egypt is called upon - through your Excellency - to take all necessary practical measures: constitutional, legal, political and social to respect the rights of all its citizens.
We therefore appeal to you, Mr. President, to:
1 - Take immediate steps to ensure that Government officials within their respective apparatus uphold human rights commitments, and to ensure that impunity is not an option for violators;
2 - Request from Egypt’s People’s Assembly to issue a national legislation unifying the regulations for the construction and maintenance of all places of worship, and other facilities belonging to all faiths communities, assuring full equality of members of these communities;
3 - Request from People’s Assembly the drafting of an Egyptian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, enshrined in the Constitution, where rights of women, minorities, children and the disabled are guaranteed in accordance with the international bill of rights.
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The Equal Rights for All Egyptians Petition to The Egyptian Government was created by Canadian Egyptian Organization for Human Rights and written by Nabil A. Malek & Abdelaziz Abdelaziz (firstname.lastname@example.org).