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Momentous change swept through Egypt in 2011 following the popular uprising that prompted the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. In the years since, the country has been mired in political instability and an acute financial crisis. The promise of a better, fairer society has failed to materialize in many crucial respects.

Factsheet series for UPR 20th Session (2014)
Joint Submission to UPR 20th Session (2014)
Joint Submission to CESCR 51st Session (English)
Joint Submission to CESCR 51st Session (Arabic)
Egypt Factsheet (2013) (English)
Egypt Factsheet (2013) (Arabic)
Submission to CESCR Pre-Sessional Working Group
CESCR Pre-Sessional Submission Arabic translation
Egypt should say 'yes' to emergency assistance, but 'no' to the failed development model of the past
Egypt Factsheet (2009)

The sustainability of Egypt’s democratic transition depends on addressing the socio-economic grievances which fuelled the revolution, yet the policies of successive governments, pushed by donors and international institutions, have hindered the meaningful structural changes needed to eradicate entrenched patterns of poverty, inequality and exclusion. To date, socio-economic reforms in Egypt have focused on budget cuts, privatization and other austerity measures that risk undermining economic and social rights and further exacerbating inequalities. This reflects a common trend of either ignoring or trading off demands for social justice and economic and social rights in the agenda of post-conflict or democratic transitions.

With the transition process ongoing, CESR is supporting Egyptian civil society organizations, who are working hard to make sure the government prioritizes the wellbeing of ordinary people by complying with its human rights obligations.

In November 2014, Egypt appeared before the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). CESR supported the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights to coordinate a joint submission endorsed by 51 non-governmental organizations and 79 labor unions examining the continuing failure of successive governments to address continuing human rights deprivations in Egypt. CESR and its partners also produced a series of 11 short briefing papers that summarize key concerns and suggest questions and recommendations on the state of economic, social and cultural rights in Egypt.

The UPR session comes one year after the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reviewed Egypt’s periodic state report in November 2013. CESR worked closely with the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and other Egyptian civil society organizations to make sure the Committee got a full and accurate picture of what is happening in the country.  A joint parallel report to the Committee documented the long-term failure of the country’s national economic development model—a model that deepened poverty, unemployment, inequality and social injustice, and in turn fuelled the Revolution. It also outlined how little had been done since the uprising to remedy soaring unemployment, escalating food prices, inadequate social security, and failing public services such as water and sanitation, affordable housing, healthcare and education. An accompanying Visualizing Rights Factsheet provided a concise statistical snapshot of these worrying trends.  The Committee concluded that Egypt was not adequately investing in economic, social and cultural rights and expressed its concern about wide disparities in the provision of essential services. It noted that persistently low budgetary allocations “resulted in retrogression in the effective enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Covenant, disproportionately impacting disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups”.

Our work on Egypt’s transition builds on earlier work in the country, including our Visualizing Rights Factsheet produced in light of Egypt’s review by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) at its 45th session in January 2010, which highlighted pronounced gender disparities in both health and education outcomes.

Egypt cracks down on human rights while championing sustainable development at UN
Statement: CESR expresses deep concern over the recent verdict, and ongoing crackdown, against human rights defenders and organizations in Egypt.
Hossam Bahgat released, but fears remain over charges against him
Statement: Hossam Bahgat's arbitrary detention highlights the escalating crackdown on independent journalists and human rights defenders in Egypt.
CESR calls for immediate release of Egyptian human rights defender Hossam Bahgat
CESR is deeply concerned at the arbitrary detention of Hossam Bahgat, investigative journalist and founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
New tools for old problems: closing the accountability gap in Egypt
by Allison Corkery
May 6th, 2015
Blog: Allison Corkery, Director of CESR's Rights Claiming and Accountability Program, on the next phased of our ongoing collaboration with Egyptian human rights defenders.
Nothing new on the Nile
Op-ed: As Egypt hosts a major investment conference, CESR's Allison Corkery and ECESR's Heba Khalil warn of the dangers of pursuing the same failed development model of the past.
A missed opportunity for ESCR: Reflections on Egypt’s appearance before the Universal Periodic Review
by Allison Corkery
November 21st, 2014
Blog: CESR's Allison Corkery reflects on the challenges of holding Egypt to account before the UN for its ESCR obligations, amidst civil society repression and a politically charged context.
Amid crackdown, UN calls on Egypt to protect civil society space

Press release: The Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review mechanism has called on Egypt to put an end to repression of civil society voices.
After threats, Egyptian human rights organizations decide not to participate in UPR
Press release: The joint press release reproduced here has been issued by CESR's partners in Egypt in the light of their decision not to attend the country's appearance before the UPR.
Egypt to answer to UN for deteriorating human rights conditions
Press release: Egypt comes before the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review mechanism amid worsening deprivation and a crackdown on civil society space in the country.
Egypt: how can the UPR strengthen realization of economic, social and cultural rights?
Invitation: On November 4, CESR and the Egyptian NGO Coalition on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will host an information meeting ahead of Egypt's appearance before the UPR.
Egypt: Widespread rights retrogression exposed before UPR
Briefing papers: New series of factsheets highlights economic and social rights situation in Egypt before the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review.
Egypt must stop penalizing the poor
Op-ed: Writing in Foreign Policy, CESR's Allison Corkery and the ECESR's Heba Khalil unpack the economic and social rights issues at stake in Egypt's elections.
Security forces raid the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and sexually harass women
Press release: This statement was issued by CESR's partner organization, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, after its offices were raided by security forces on Thursday 22 May.
130 organizations join forces at UN to confront Egypt’s human rights crisis
Press Release: As presidential elections draw near in Egypt, a large coalition is taking the country to task before the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review.
UN criticizes Egypt’s rights record and calls for increased investment in economic and social rights
Press release: The United Nations has raised serious concerns over shortcomings in the provision of a broad range of economic, social and cultural rights in Egypt.
New factsheet indicates rights retrogression and worsening living conditions in Egypt
Factsheet: A new factsheet produced by CESR and its Egyptian partner ECESR provides a concise statistical snapshot of worrying trends in economic and social rights in Egypt.
Egypt's rights record found wanting at UN
Press release: The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has firmly criticised Egypt's failure to address the social injustices and marked inequality that fuelled the 2011 revolution.
Egypt to answer to UN body for ongoing social rights crisis
Press release: CESR and its Egyptian partners are in Geneva this week as the North African country makes its first appearance before a UN human rights treaty body since the Arab Spring revolution.
Egypt: new report brings economic and social rights deficits to attention of UN
UN submission: CESR has joined forces with a broad coalition of 57 organizations on a joint parallel report taking the Egyptian government to task at the United Nations.
Egypt should say 'yes' to emergency assistance, but 'no' to the failed development model of the past
Analysis article: CESR Research Consultant Rick Rowden explains why Egypt should be wary of any IMF loan agreement that requires a return to the ineffective policies of the past
Egypt Fact Sheet
This 2009 CESR fact sheet looks at women's rights in Egypt, including their right to health, education, work, water and sanitation. Progress in realizing these rights remains relatively low in Egypt compared to other lower-middle income countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Egypt: Economic and Social Disparities Underlie Calls for Change
by Victoria Wisniewski, Ignacio Saiz and Kevin Donegan
February 4th, 2011
Disparities between youth and adults, and between men and women, especially in health, education, labor and an adequate standard of living, reveal much.