Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry emphasised on Monday efforts made by the Egyptian government to “achieve equality between citizens before the law”.
Shoukry’s comments came during a meeting with European Union Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis at the ministry headquarters.
The minister stated that Egypt is “keen on maintaining human rights in political, economic or social aspects”. Referring to the development of the legal system in Egypt, Shoukry said it should be “based on the rule of law that applies to everyone, without exception”.
Ahead of his meeting with Shoukry, Lambrinidis pointed out via a post on social media that Egypt has an “upcoming Universal Periodic Review at the [United Nations] Human Rights Council”. After the meeting he said that he and Shoukry discussed “human rights matters and freedom of assembly and association”.
Egypt’s Universal Periodic Review is set to take place on 5 November and will be lead by Saudi Arabia, Montenegro, and the Ivory Coast. Egypt’s first review was in 2010 and is set to take place every four years.
Egypt rejected comments made by the EU during the 27th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, in September. The EU representative expressed concern for “indiscriminate detentions and disproportionate sentencing… as well as the alarming situation of Human Rights Defenders and NGOs”. The foreign ministry said the statements were “a negative message”, especially at a time when Egypt is fighting “terrorism”.
On his last visit to Egypt in February, Lambrinidis had a request to visit prisoners denied. He said at the time this was a “direct contradiction” of the Ministry of Interior’s “press release promising greater openness to such visits”.