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Egypt: how can the UPR strengthen realization of economic, social and cultural rights?

NGO UPR information meeting
Tuesday 4 November 2014
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Room XXIV

a flyer for this meeting can be downloaded here

CESR and the Egyptian NGO Coalition on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will host an information meeting ahead of Egypt's appearance before the Universal Periodic Review.

Much of the focus on Egypt's human rights record has been on the country’s restrictive political climate. Less widely noted—though very much interrelated—has been a long-standing official disregard for economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR), which is fuelling widespread poverty and deteriorating living standards across the country. Not only has there been a failure to tackle the systemic injustices that inspired the revolution, harsh austerity measures are unjustly forcing the costs of the country’s current economic crisis onto those least able to afford it.

In the absence of effective accountability channels at the national level, civil society has turned to the international human rights system, calling for greater government responsiveness to socio-economic needs, especially in relation to fiscal policy. In November 2013, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reviewed Egypt’s periodic state report, expressing serious concerns over shortcomings in the provision of a broad range of human rights.

This NGO UPR Information Meeting will analyze the impact that the Committee’s review has had in Egypt, taking stock of implementation of its recommendations 12 months on. It will also reflect on the challenges and opportunities Egypt’s UPR appearance offers in terms of spotlighting ESCR through this mechanism, asking for example:

  • How well has the UPR addressed ESCR-related issues to date?
  • Have some rights been easier or harder to address?
  • How could recommendations on ESCR be strengthened?
  • What role can civil society play in this regard?

Egyptian NGOs will also share their experiences of engaging in the UPR in a context of limited opportunities for civil society engagement.