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UN approves Egypt resolution on combatting terrorism

Image of a poster condemning the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi [Alisdare Hickson/Flickr]
Image of a poster condemning the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi [Alisdare Hickson/Flickr]

The UN has approved an Egyptian-sponsored draft resolution highlighting the importance of combatting terrorism to protect human rights, according to Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The resolution, entitled “Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism”, comes just two weeks after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi claimed that a government prioritising countering terrorism in the country was a citizen’s basic human right.

The submitted resolution stressed the state’s key role in protecting all people living on its territories, by taking effective measures to combat incidents of terrorism and pursue culprits, as well as by fostering international security cooperation.

In a statement released yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said the resolution reflected Al-Sisi’s vision of the link between terrorism and human rights.

However, whilst there were no objections to the proposal, the US delegation highlighted that there was no existing obligation under human rights law to prevent terrorism and protect the people from it. Russian representatives clarified that the fight against terrorism must balance the interests of society with the protection of human rights.

The resolution itself also emphasised that states should ensure they comply with international law in regards to the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel treatment.

Read: Israel, Egypt fighting against ‘terror of radical Islam’ together says Netanyahu

The Egyptian government has repeatedly emphasised the tackling of terrorism since the ousting of democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi. After designating the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi stemmed, a terrorist organisation, the country has also witnessed a crackdown in freedom of speech and political activism, justified as necessary for “national security”.

Despite Cairo being criticised by both local and international parties for its human rights abuses in tackling perceived threats, the authorities routinely deny any such incidents of torture and suppression take place, asserting instead that the government “supports freedom of expression”.

Read: Egypt MPs call on Sisi to release innocent jailed minors

Last week, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry again claimed that European NGOs and media outlets were deliberately spreading false information in regards to the human rights situation in the country.

Egypt has also criticised the findings of many NGOs, and has pledged to take action against Human Rights Watch after it released a damning report on state torture in September.

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