Egypt hits out at HRW
Egypt's Shura Council has condemned Human Rights Watch’s criticism of a draft law on demonstrations
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Ezz Eddin al-Komy, head of the [Egyptian] Shura Council Human Rights Committee, condemned Human Rights Watch’s criticism of a draft law on demonstrations, saying they “hindered” the right to peaceful assembly.
The US-based human rights organization said that “vague” articles of the law should be amended, but in statements to state-run news agency MENA Komy described the group’s remarks as interference in Egypt’s domestic affairs.
Komy added that the bill “is still being discussed in specialized committees” within the Shura Council and “is still under wide community dialogue.”
Komy called on the organization to pay attention to its duties in rejecting human rights violations in the occupied territories in Palestine against civilians, especially toward the siege of Gaza.
The Shura Council had approved in principle last Tuesday a bill regulating the right to protest peacefully in public places.
Omar al-Sherif, an assistant to the justice minister for legislation, said that the right to demonstrate should “not result in harm to the rights of others,” adding, “This is the basics on which the bill was drafted by the government.”
A report by the human rights committee said that the law was supposed to prevent “intruders” from hiding in the ranks of peaceful demonstrators and prevent demonstrations from devolving into violence.
The report also said that the law requires police to use internationally accepted tools to counter riots, such as water cannons, tear gas and batons, while protecting citizens from road blocks, traffic disruptions or attacks on people and property.
Critics counter that the law is highly restrictive and is an attempt to stifle protests against President Mohamed Morsy and his ruling Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party.