CAIRO: The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) has called on civil society to come forward with their reports and recommendations for a draft law on discrimination and equal opportunities, George Ishaq, leading member of the NCHR, told The Cairo Post following a Tuesday workshop.
“The Egyptian legislation has anti-discrimination codes. But there are aspects to discrimination that legislators find worthy of focus to ensure a mechanism to apply the codes,” Mahmoud Abdel Bary, advisor to the minister of justice, said at the workshop, attended by dozens of civil society representatives, including persons from organizations defending the rights of women, the disabled, Christians and others.
The NCHR organized the workshop based on article 53 of the 2014 constitution, which stipulates that discrimination on “any ground” is illegal, and discussed the establishment on an anti-discrimination commission.
“If you exaggerate the powers of the commission, it will not see the light soon,” Abdel Bary added.
Mohamed Farahat, a constitutional expert, called commission to be able to adjudicate on cases of discrimination, saying that referring matters to courts would not solve the problem if the “judiciary is an entity that practices discrimination.”
Farahat cited an example of the State Council, the most prestigious judicial body in Egypt, which refused to allow women to become judges at its courts even after the new constitution was adopted.
Classism was also cited as a societal problem; in October, dozens of the Faculty of Law graduates were denied jobs as prosecutors because of the “low educational standard” of their parents.
In the NCHR’s recommendations at the end of the workshop, Ishaq asserted that citizens should not wait for a political will from the regime, and that “popular will is enough to push the government forward.”