The recommendations made by Brazil to Egypt this Wednesday (November 5) in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a hearing on the human rights situation of countries that make up the United Nations (UN), were considered generic and less assertive than expected at a delicate time for the country.
The deadline ends next week for human rights organizations in Egypt to register under the controversial law 84/2002, which limits the work of these organizations. Many of them are operating without registration and fear that the law may be used to criminalize them and restrict their funding.
In the UPR, Brazil praised the adoption of the Egyptian Constitution this year, in particular the fact that it establishes the right of all citizens to form non-governmental organizations and foundations. The Brazilian recommendation was for “Egypt to adopt all the necessary measures to promote the freedom of association”.
Nevertheless, civil society organizations had hoped that Brazil would recommend the repeal of the law. Read the complete recommendations submitted by Brazilian organizations that were formulated in conjunction with Egyptian NGOs.
“Brazil had a unique opportunity to pressure Egypt at this extremely tense moment when the deadline set by the Egyptian government is approaching for NGOs to comply with a law that runs completely counter to the freedom to work and the freedom of association. It was a positive sign that the Brazilian delegation addressed the issue, but it was done far too timidly. If it wanted to recommend something that could effect real change, Brazil should have asked for the repeal of Law 84,” said Camila Asano, coordinator of Foreign Policy at Conectas.
This Wednesday, Brazil also made a second recommendation to Egypt, for the country to “adopt a broad national strategy to combat all forms of violence against women, including female human rights defenders, on both a public and domestic level, with an emphasis on sexual assault.”
Iran and Angola UPR
Iran and Angola also appeared recently in their respective UPR hearings.
In the Angola UPR, on October 30, Brazil made just two recommendations that human rights organizations considered were too general: to step up efforts to strengthen the Judiciary, as the country has already done with the creation of the Commission on the Reform of the Legislative and Judiciary; and to ratify the Convention against Torture, which is extremely important, given that Angola has not acceded to this convention that has now been nearly universally accepted.
The Brazilian diplomatic mission did not take into consideration the recommendations presented by Brazilian organizations that spoke with Angolan human rights organizations.
In the case of Iran (October 30), the Brazilian delegation acted positively, primarily for mentioning among its recommendations the persecution of journalists and activists, and domestic violence against women, drawing a parallel with Brazil’s own “Maria da Penha” law on domestic violence.