Egypt’s foreign affairs ministry yesterday condemned a recent report by the United Nations (UN)’s Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, saying that it contained “baseless” allegations about the state’s housing policies.
The ministry said it had invited the special rapporteur to visit the country from 24 September to 3 October as part of the government’s openness to cooperate with international human rights bodies and to present the challenges faced by the government in providing suitable housing.
“Egypt was surprised by the special rapporteur’s attempts to fabricate facts and create problems in her meetings from the very start of her visit to Cairo, even though the state had provided her with all the assistance needed for her to carry out her duties,” the ministry statement read.
The UN rapporteur’s actions upon arriving in Egypt, the ministry added, “raised suspicions that she intended to defame the country deliberately.”
“These doubts were confirmed after the rapporteur had communicated with Qatar’s Al-Jazeera channel – which is known for its blatant support for terrorist organisations – immediately after the report was issued,” the ministry pointed out, stressing that the rapporteur’s actions “proved that the report was intentionally malicious and politicised, hiding under the guise of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The ministry explained that the special rapporteur had seen the government’s plan to build some 600,000 social housing units, with 300,000 units already been completed, while five per cent of the project units has been allocated to the disabled people. It has also seen the state’s plan to re-develop 46 unsafe slum areas inside and outside Cairo.
However, the ministry noted, the UN rapporteur “deliberately downplayed and concealed the government’s unprecedented achievements in providing adequate housing for citizens and the progressive and bold decisions taken by the government to create a shift in housing policies to ensure decent and adequate living standards for citizens without discrimination.”
The Egyptian foreign office said that the rapporteur’s “irresponsible and untrusted” actions, had raised concerns about her independence. It called on the UN Human Rights Council to take a “deterrent action against those who exploit their posts in politics.”
“Egypt strongly rejects this threat to halt the work of special rapporteurs with Egypt,” the ministry said, stressing that such decision was “entirely outside the rapporteur’s jurisdiction and is a violation of her duty.”