NGOs talk human rights violations with EU, US representatives

Thirteen local rights groups met on Wednesday with Stavros Lambrinidis, the European Union's special human rights representative, and Michael Posner, the US assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights to discuss rights violations in Egypt.

The meeting at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies addressed freedom of expression, freedom of religion, sectarian tension, recent prosecutions on defamation of religion charges and the targeting of political activists, an institute statement said Wednesday. Participants objected to a draft law the government is considering that restricts demonstrations and civil society organizations.

They also addressed police torture and violence against peaceful demonstrators and opposition forces, as well as the sexual harassment of female demonstrators — an issue that has recently garnered more media attention amid multiple reports of sexual assaults.

The institute as well as the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Andalus Institute for Tolerance and anti-Violence Studies and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights all joined the talks.

During his visit to Cairo, Posner had earlier expressed concern about growing political polarization in Egypt and the "climate of impunity" over abuses by police and security forces in the region's most populous Arab nation.

Edited translation from MENA

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