Egyptian laws draw rights concerns

Nov. 30, 2012 at 11:44 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The Egyptian government is called on to ensure violations basic civil and political rights are upheld, a top rights official said.

Egyptian leaders backed a new constitution against criticism over the dominance of Islamic political entities and a perceived power grab by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, voted in as the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate in June.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said a series of provisions spelled out in the new constitution, which consist of 12 principles and 30 articles, may undermine civil, religious and gender rights.

"It is within the legal prerogatives and political responsibility of President Morsi to address these concerns in conformity with international human rights principles," she said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch expressed concerns about the document, saying the "extremely contentious review process" raised serious questions about the respect for the rule of law.

Several minority groups pulled out of the constituent assembly in protest of Morsi's administrative moves.

The Egyptian State Information Service reports that the new constitution will be presented to the president Saturday "in preparation for putting it to public referendum."

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