Rights groups: Draft constitution would entrench despotism

More than 100 human rights organizations criticized the first draft of the new constitution Monday, arguing it entrenches authoritarianism and fails to protect media freedoms and human rights.

The statement, signed by 183 organizations, said the draft constitution, issued in late October, lacks any reference or stipulation concerning the country’s obligations to international documents on human rights, announcing that the groups would begin a campaign Thursday to press for articles that ensure those rights.

The statement noted that the campaign would demand a separate section in the constitution tackling civil society organizations, granting them freedom of organization and operation.

Civil society should have a stake in drafting the new constitution, the organizations said, being an active national force that raises awareness about civil, political, economic and cultural rights among youth.

The organizations said institutions regulating and observing civil society organizations’ work should be unified into a single, independent body that would be elected by civil society leaders.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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