Human rights violations are worse under President Muhammed Morsi’s rule than under his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak’s regime, according to a consortium of pro-democracy and civil society groups.
Egypt is witnessing “another version of an authoritarian regime, with special features,” said a statement prepared by 21 human rights groups, citing attacks on the media, curbs on the independence of the judiciary and the torture of civilian protesters by members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
The levels of attacks on the media during Morsi’s tenure and on the independence of the judiciary are also new phenomena, according to the statement.
“The human rights record over the past eight months since President Mohamed Morsi took the seat of power… are worse than before the revolution,” said the statement. Signatories included the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Center for Trade Union and Workers’ Services, the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-violence Studies,and the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights.
The statement warned that the government’s policies and practices “will lead to more serious threats and attacks against a number of fundamental rights,” including the right to peaceful assembly which may be curbed by a new draft protest law being considered by the Shura Council.
Freedom of association and the right to form independent trade unions, freedom of belief and religious practice of non-Sunni Muslims and the rights of non-religious minorities are all under threat, according to the statement. The rule of law and judicial independence of the judiciary were undermined by Morsi’s 22 November constitutional declaration and the appointment of a prosecutor general.
“Morsi’s government is trying to use violence against demonstrators as a weapon to settle things down until the upcoming elections,” said Yasmin Hossam, a lawyer with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
“We demand the government act,” Yasmin said. “But we know they will not since they are behind these attacks to begin with.”