On Wednesday, human rights organization, the Egyptian Initiative to Protect Rights (EIPR), issued a statement on the new draft constitution recently approved by interim president, Adly Mansour. As Egyptians prepare to take to the polls on January 14 and 15, to vote in a referendum on the constitution, EIPR’s statement, while describing the new constitution as an improvement, was critical of restrictions, carried over from its predecessors.
Commenting on the improvement in civil rights in the new draft constitution, “both in terms of their formulation and content,” the statement adds that it “does not provide the necessary guarantees for the exercise of numerous rights and liberties addressed by the constitution.”
|Download EIPR’s Full Statement in Arabic|
EIPR’s statement condemned the lack of national or social dialogue and a general lack of transparency in regards to the entire process, particularly where matters involving the military establishment and religious institutions are concerned. The new draft, EIPR says, “fails to transcend the traditional red lines and reflects the conviction that granting broad powers to the military and official religious establishments is the primary guarantee for the protection of the Egyptian state.”
With the new draft constitution falling short of the “objectives of the 25 January revolution,” it instead, according to EIPR, “entrenches a system that will ultimately lead to the infringement of rights and liberties and the diminishment of guarantees for economic and social justice.”
Controversy has continued to surround the new draft constitution, with claims by some members of the drafting committee that the text of the preamble was altered after the final vote, and before its submission to the interim president for his approval. The text in question, according to committee members Mohamed Abul Ghar, the head of the Social Democratic Party, and Bishop Antonious, the representative of the Catholic Church, relates to civilian rule. The original text contained the phrase, “civilian rule,” which they claim was later altered to “civilian government. Committee head Amr Moussa, and spokesman, Mohamed Salmawy, deny that any changes were made to the text after the final vote.