Egypt: EU Election Observation Report must not be complacent

Thursday 22 May 2014

Source: EMHRN

Date: 21 may 2014

Keywords: Egypt, Election, Human Rights

Brussels, 21 May 2014- In the context of the EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) currently taking place in Egypt, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) urges the observers to make a thorough assessment of the political and human rights context, as well as the hurdles encountered during the mission. The elections are due to take place on 26 and 27 of May.

Vital EOM equipment was stuck at the border, causing long term observers not being able to be deployed outside of Cairo, which led the EU to downgrade the mission. Once the equipment was delivered, the EU reversed its decision. However, it prevented the EOM from having a comprehensive view of the electoral context. Administrative obstacles were publicly acknowledged on 19 May by the Chief Observer of the EU mission.

The elections in Egypt happen in a context where space for democratic expression is severely restricted and all forms of dissent and criticism, including the denunciation of violations by human rights organisations, are being stifled.

Furthermore, there is no freedom of expression allowing for a pluralistic debate, including possible criticism of the incumbent government, nor respect for the right to peaceful assembly. Several journalists are currently jailed and tried on fallacious grounds, as are other activists such as bloggers and members of associations, NGOs and youth movements. Protests are systematically repressed and frequently spiral into lethal violence and arrest of dozens of participants.

Finally, the electoral law agreed upon on 6 March does not leave the possibility for an appeal, raising serious questions about the nature of the upcoming elections.

EMHRN urges the EOM to reflect this, both in its preliminary statement (due 48 hours after the election), as well as in its final report (due within two months of the completion of the electoral process) which, according to EU standards, must contain the EOM’s conclusions and recommendations regarding the whole electoral process. Indeed, the EU has made the decision to deploy a fully-fledged EOM, which entails the respect of strict standards.

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