Egypt Daily Update: UN Rights Commissioner Criticizes Egypt’s Rights Crackdown

May 1, 2017

UN Rights Commissioner Condemns Egypt’s Rights Crackdown

IMF Delegation in Egypt Ahead of Loan Disbursal

Cartoon of the Day: Labor Day

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UN Rights Commissioner Criticizes Egypt’s Rights Crackdown

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein stated today at a news conference in Geneva that Egypt’s ongoing security crackdown and poor rights record “facilitates radicalization.” He said, “National security, yes, must be a priority for every country, but again not at the expense of human rights,” adding that “a state of emergency, the massive numbers of detentions, reports of torture, and continued arbitrary arrests – all of this we believe facilitates radicalization in prisons.” This campaign is “abetted by the crackdown on civil society through travel bans, freezing orders, anti-protest laws; this is in our opinion is not the way to fight terror,” al-Hussein concluded.Meanwhile, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization filed a petition for the immediate release of detained Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Hussein was originally detained in December 2016 and his detention has since been renewed six times. He faces charges of incitement and broadcasting false news to spread chaos. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights previously filed a similar petition to release detained Egyptian-American non-profit worker Aya Hijazi, who was acquitted last month.

IMF Delegation in Egypt Ahead of Loan Disbursal

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation is in Egypt until May 11 ahead the disbursal of the second $1.25 billion tranche of Egypt’s $12 billion loan. The delegation will meet with officials from the Finance Ministry and Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to discuss progress on Egypt’s economic reform program and recommendations for further reform. According to Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kajok, the reform program agreed to by the Ministry and the IMF consists of targeting a 5.5 percent economic growth rate, reducing the national debt by 90 percent by 2018-19, and increasing employment by instituting policies that increase competitiveness, attract investment, and reduce the deficit.

Enterprise reported that a major focus of the discussions will be Egypt’s inflation rate. According to Finance Minister Amr El Garhy, the IMF is pushing [Ar] the Egyptian government to increase interest rates in order to curb inflation. The CBE is currently studying the recommendation. In a press conference from the World Bank and IMF’s spring meetings last month, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde emphasized that inflation is “a question that needs to be addressed head on” and urged the CBE and Finance Ministry to tackle the issue. Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department Jihad Azour later stated that interest rates would be “the right instrument” to manage Egypt’s inflation. Egypt received the first $2.75 billion tranche of the $12 billion IMF loan in November 2016.

In other news, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified the controversial judicial authority law late Thursday night, despite objections from the Judges Club and State Council. The law allows the president to appoint judiciary council heads from the three vice-chairs nominated by each judicial council.

Cartoon of the Day: Labor Day

Politician: “Egypt’s workers are Egypt’s hope.”
Banner: “Labor Day”Amr El Sawy
Tahrir News04/30/2017

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