MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

November 14, 2013
As the committee of fifty members continues to make amendments to Egypt's draft constitution, with a referendum expected in late December, International IDEA has prepared a translation of the partial draft, as of November 10. The unofficial translation includes a section on on the 'State and its Essential Components,' as well as chapters on ‘Rights, Freedoms and Public Duties,’ ‘Rule of Law,’ as well as a new section, entitled 'Natural Components of Life.' The translation also includes eight new articles that are still under discussion within the committee, on the issues of intellectual property, the Waqf (religious endowment) system, crimes against humanity, border regions, organ donation, citizenship, food sovereignty and workers' protection.

While the translation does include the contentious ‘identity’ articles - on Islamic Sharia (Article 2) and the laws regulation Christian and Jewish personal affairs (Article 3) - all articles pertaining to the military are still under discussion and have yet to be translated. Article 47, on the freedom of belief, is still under discussion.

Notable articles include Article 53 on the freedom of assembly, which echoes the controversial protest law, requiring prior notification for peaceful assembly, while Article 14 states only that “Striking peacefully is a right which is organized by law.” Article 54 forbids the formation of political parties on the basis of religion, while Article 52 maintains the provision that censorship of the media is forbidden, except “in time of war or general mobilization.”

On women’s rights, this draft makes significant gains in comparison to both the 2012 Constitution, and the ten-member committee’s amendments. Previously, the constitution ensured a woman’s equal status to men, “without prejudice to the principles of Islamic Sharia,” while also making direct reference to a woman’s duties to her families. The updated draft removes references to Islamic Sharia, but maintains references to family duties, while also adding “The state commits to taking the necessary measures to ensure a fair and balanced representation of women in parliamentary and local councils.” The issue of quotas, however, continues to be another point of controversy among members of the committee tasked with amending the constitution.
pdfDownload the PDF of the translation here