State Dept. HR report

Plenty of coverage of this recently, and CNN highlighted Egypt as one of the countries the US put emphasis on in the report. I just want to provide the link to the Egypt page and highlight the intro:

The Arab Republic of Egypt, with a population of approximately 72 million, has been governed by the National Democratic Party (NDP) since the party's establishment in 1978. The NDP, which continued to dominate national politics by maintaining an overriding majority in the popularly elected People's Assembly and the partially elected Shura (Consultative) Council, derives its governing authority from the 1971 constitution and subsequent amendments. Executive authority resides with the president of the republic and the cabinet. On September 7, President Hosni Mubarak won a fifth 6-year term, with 88 percent of the vote, in the country's first multi-candidate presidential election, a landmark event that was otherwise marred by low voter turnout and charges of fraud. The November and December parliamentary elections witnessed significant opposition gains but were marred by violence, low turnout, fraud, and vote rigging. The civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces, which committed numerous, serious human rights abuses.

The government's respect for human rights remained poor, and serious abuses continued in many areas. The following human rights problems were reported:

• limitations on the right of citizens to change their government
• existence of the state of emergency, in place almost continuously since 1967
• torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees, including deaths in custody
• poor conditions in prisons and detention centers
• impunity
• arbitrary, sometimes mass, arrest and detention, including prolonged pretrial detention
• executive influence on the judiciary
• denial of fair public trial and lack of due process
• political prisoners
• restrictions on civil liberties--freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association; some restrictions on freedom of religion
• corruption and lack of transparency
Nuff said. The pages for other countries in the region are here. The Israel page has the fantastic line "There were no reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings," proving once more that when it comes to the Jewish state reality need not apply. A country with an official assassination policy in a territory it illegally occupies (and hence has moral responsibility over) is given a clean slate. But then again, the same State Dept. that issues this report helps Arab countries build detention centers to which it offshores torture. I'm reading the Morocco page with interest on this one, funny it doesn't mention anything about the new Temara facility.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.