Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 5408 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YM YI YE

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 09CAIRO814, NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09CAIRO814.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO814 2009-05-13 07:07 2011-02-03 00:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO2923
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0814/01 1330744
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 130744Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2395
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 000814 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR NEA, NEA/ELA AND DRL/NESCA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/13/2029 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM KIRF EG
SUBJECT: NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT 
CRITICIZES GOE, OFFERS RECOMMENDATIONS 
 
REF: A. CAIRO 79 
     B. 08 CAIRO 2152 
     C. 08 CAIRO 2122 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. KEY POINTS: 
 
-- (U) The quasi-governmental organization, the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), released its 2008 human rights report on May 6, criticizing the GOE for specific violations and offering 25 recommendations. 
 
-- (U) The report criticizes the GOE for human rights violations such as restricting NGOs, continuing the emergency law and reacting violently to the April 2008 Mahalla strike. It also expresses concern over tensions between Christians and Muslims. 
 
-- (U) The most prominent of the 25 recommendations focus on ending the emergency law, combating torture, abolishing prison sentences as penalties for journalists, and easing restrictions on NGOs and political parties. 
 
-- (C) Civil society contacts criticized the report for failing to fault the GOE for not implementing the NCHR's previous recommendations and for highlighting economic problems over a lack of social and political rights. 
 
2. (C) Comment:  Founded in 2003, the National Council for Human Rights is a quasi-governmental organization dominated by GOE insiders.  Former Foreign Minister and UNSYG Boutros Boutros-Ghali is the Chairman, and other top positions are filled by former ministers, retired MFA officials and ruling National Democratic Party members of parliament.  This year's 300-page report offers sharper criticism of the GOE than in previous years, includes more detail on specific abuses and does not shy away from sensitive issues such as sectarian 
tension.  The most prominent recommendations are substantive 
and include many of the issues that human rights activists focus on.  We believe that citing these NCHR recommendations could give the USG leverage in private discussions with the GOE on democratic reforms.  End comment. 
 
3. (U) The NCHR report, covering 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, criticizes the GOE for restricting NGO and professional syndicates, "constraining" bloggers and trying civilians before military courts under the emergency law.  It takes issue with the penal code for allowing prison terms for journalists, and describes "normal social friction" between Muslims and Christians as "turning into sectarian strife." 
The report notes the GOE's "violent" reaction to the April 2008 Mahalla strike.  The National Council also calls attention to the "economic and social problems" facing citizens in the Sinai, and describes the global financial crisis' detrimental effect on Egypt's economy and society. The report includes a section on complaints the NCHR received from citizens, which focused mostly on economic and social issues. 
 
4. (C) The report also characterizes some developments over the year as positive, such as open criticism of government policies on Egyptian satellite television, and President Mubarak's pardon of Ibrahim Eissa, editor-in-chief of the independent "Al-Dustour" newspaper, who was sentenced to a two-month prison term in September 2008 (ref C).  (Note:  Per ref B, Mubarak commuted the sentence in October 2008, but the conviction still stands.  End note.)  The National Council 
also welcomes prison sentences against police officers convicted of torture. 
 
5. (C) The report offers 25 recommendations, the most prominent of which are noted below.  All of these prominent recommendations have appeared in different NCHR reports since 
the first publication in 2005. 
 
--The Emergency Law:  Calling for ending the emergency law in favor of an anti-terrorism law, and "demanding" that the emergency law be applied selectively in the interim. 

--Torture:  Broadening the definition of torture and increasing the penalties.  (Comment:  Currently, the law defines torture only in the context of extracting confessions.  Most sentences for police offices have been the minimum prescribed by law.  End comment.) 

--Prison for Journalists:  Calling on President Mubarak to fulfill his pledge to amend the penal code by abolishing prison terms as penalties for journalists. 

--NGO Restrictions:  Removing legal restrictions on NGOs. (Comment:  Under the existing NGO law, the GOE is able to 
 
CAIRO 00000814  002 OF 002 
 
 
shut down NGOs, limit their activities and refuse to register them, and often utilizes these prerogatives.  End comment.) 

--Political Parties:  Lifting the restrictions on the formation of new parties.  (Comment:  Currently, aspiring political parties need the permission of the ruling party-dominated Political Parties Committee in order to be registered, giving the regime a veto, which it currently 
uses, over its potential political competition.  End comment.) 
 
---------------------------------- 
Civil Society Largely Disappointed 
---------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX told us that although he agrees with all of the recommendations, he doubts that the GOE will implement them. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX said that although he thought the report was the strongest yet, it should have been "tougher" on the GOE for not responding to the National Council's recommendations since 2005.  XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX slammed the report as the "worst one since 2004" because it attributes the country's problems to its citizens' lack of a human rights culture.  He expressed disappointment that the report, in his view, over-emphasizes economic problems and minimizes the lack of civil and political rights. 
SCOBEY