Rights group: Egyptian Constitution flawed

Nov. 30, 2012 at 5:11 PM

CAIRO, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Egypt's Constituent Assembly has passed a draft constitution that fails to protect women's rights or guarantee religious freedom, Human Rights Watch said.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch, said Friday the document also fails to guarantee civil trials for civilians.

"The decision of Constituent Assembly leaders to move a flawed and contradictory draft to a vote is not the right way to guarantee fundamental rights or to promote respect for the rule of law," Stork said. "Rushing through a draft while serious concerns about key rights protections remain unaddressed will create huge problems down the road that won't be easy to fix."

Heba Morayef, the group's Egypt director, told Ahram Online she believes the constitution is worse than the 1971 document passed under President Anwar Sadat. She said she is especially worried about a clause that all rights and freedoms must comply with the chapter on state and society.

"The language of Chapter 1 is full of very broad terms, such as the state has to maintain 'moral behavior' and guarantee the 'true nature of the Egyptian family,'" she said. "You could use any of this vague language to negate any part of the rights chapter."

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