Egyptian rights groups: We refuse to attend meetings designed to improve the image of the repressive military council and its complicit government.
The undersigned human rights organizations refuse to participate in the meeting called today by Dr. Ali Salmi, Deputy Prime Minister for Political Development and Democratic Transition, in order to discuss criteria for selecting a Constituent Assembly to draft the constitution. We refuse to attend any other meetings of this kind until the government of Dr. Essam Sharaf and the military council prove their respect for the dignity and rights of the Egyptian people. Under this government and military council, thousands have been subjected to unjust military trials, and torture has increased whilst perpetrators go unpunished. Smear campaigns have targeted the very civil society organizations which helped uncover and address the crimes of the former dictator Hosni Mubarak – apparently in revenge for their concern for the dignity and rights of the Egyptian people.
From the moment Mubarak was overthrown, these groups have welcomed opportunities to cooperate and dialogue with the Egyptian government, which promised to defend the gains of the Revolution and to build a new democratic Egyptian state based on justice and the rule of law. Yet the Egyptian government, and the military council which is de facto running the country, have turned their backs on the Egyptian people's demands for a just state. They have launched a systematic campaign against those who defend democracy. Thousands of Egyptians face more crude violations by the military police, whether it be torture or military trials which lack even the basic elements of justice and fairness. The military establishment has committed even worse violations than those which took place under Mubarak – the so-called 'virginity tests' inflicted upon women and girls.
In spite of all the military council's promises to investigate these practices which run counter to the values of the Revolution and to human rights, we have not yet seen any announcement of the results of these investigations, if they were even conducted in the first place. Several months ago, the Egyptian government began defaming and discrediting civil society organizations. Those ministers most actively involved are those closest to the Mubarak regime, most of them not above reproach themselves.
All this is in the light of ongoing formal discussions whose results have never been announced; whatever happens in them is apparently forgot