UN criticizes Egypt draft demonstration law
Spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, on Feb. 19 criticized Egypt's draft law on demonstrations for failure to adequately protect freedom of assembly as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and two international rights treaties ratified by Egypt. The draft law requires that organizers inform authorities about protest plans in advance and allows the interior ministry the right to reject demonstrations. Governors will restrict protests to a particular location in each province. Additionally, the draft prohibits using platforms for speakers or the use of tents during sit-ins and bars carrying banners or chanting slogans found to be defamatory or insulting to religious or state institutions. The draft law imposes criminal sanctions on organizers who fail to comply with these legal requirements. The Egyptian government argues that the intent of the legislation is to prevent peaceful and violent protests from mixing. In recommending that the draft law be revised to conform with international treaties, Colville commented that: "No one should be criminalized or subjected to any threats or acts of violence, harassment or persecution for addressing human rights issues through peaceful protests."
From Jurist, Feb. 20. Used with permission.