Issues in Egypt
Egypt is considered as the most populous country among the Arab regions. It is also one of the most authoritarian Arab countries. Although the nation is under an authoritarian leadership spearheaded by President Hosni Mubarak, it was stated that Egypt is faced with various economic challenges and uncertainty in its succession in the political aspect (Tristam)
Since the rule of Hosni Muhabarak after the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat, Egypt has been under the control of the so called “emergency rule.” The country is also moving slowly towards the path of economic growth while reforms in the political aspect are not properly managed. Egypt is a poor nation and is included in the countries in the United Nations Human Development index. Because of the economic instability, various protests are put up by laborers whose wages are not enough to sustain with the country’s inflation rate.
In 2005, it was recorded that Egypt’s economy was growing by 7%. Its export industry reached 20%, and the stock exchange rate in Cairo soared in 2006. Despite the improvements in the economy, the country remained in the poor index because of its inability to sustain food, energy, and housing among its people. In addition to this, the country’s bureaucracy is also seen as an impediment for sustained development (Tristam).
Human rights record in Egypt is also another issue in the country that is left unaddressed. In 2004, records showed that little improvements were made in order to attend to the issue. Despite the establishment of National Council for Human Rights, serious matters such as tortures and non-violent political non-conformity were disregarded (Human Rights Watch 454). With the presence of emergency rule, detentions and trials are made under the power of the military and security courts of the state. Torture is not only inflicted among individuals who dissent the political policy, but it is also done to ordinary people who were detained because of ordinary crimes (Human Rights Watch 455). Men who are believed to be engaging in the conduct of homosexuality are also subjected to torture (Human Rights Watch 456). Likewise, street children and women are also violated. Children in the street, including the beggars, the homeless, and the out of school youths, are periodically mass arrested. While under the custody of those in power, they suffered from beatings, sexual abuse, face extortions, and denial of basic necessities. On the other hand, women and girls are heavily discriminated, and violence directed towards them is often left unpunished (Human Rights Watch 457). Nongovernmental and political organizations are also under the unwarranted control of the government. The right to freedom of the associations is heavily guarded, and engagement in activities that are unauthorized such as political unions is subject to penalties (Human Rights Watch 455).
In addition, religious intolerance and discrimination against other religious group still permeate Egypt. The law recognizes the conversion to Islam but does not tolerate Islam members to undergo conversion to other religions. According to a report prepared by Human Rights Watch in 2005, the Muslims in Egypt who converted to other religions were harassed, and other individuals were prosecuted due to their conformity and promotion of sects that are considered as non-orthodox Islamic (455).
Although there were interventions from other countries to empower human rights in Egypt, only little was contributed to its improvement. With the presence of the emergency rule, there are fewer possibilities that improvements could be seen in the country as a whole, unless there would be proper management of political reforms and economic issues and human rights are properly addressed (Human Rights Watch 458–459).
Human Rights Watch. “Egypt.” World Report 2005. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2005,
454–459. 17 September 2008 < http://www.hrw.org/wr2k5/wr2005.pdf>.
Tristam, Pierre. “Egypt: Country profile.” About.com. 2008. 17 September 2008 <http://middleeast.about.com/od/egypt/p/me080116.htm>.