COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
30 July - 17 August 2001
278. The Committee considered the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth
and sixteenth periodic reports of Egypt, which were due on 4 January
1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000, respectively, submitted as one document
(CERD/C/384/Add.3), at its 1484th and 1485th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1484
and 1485), on 10 and 13 August 2001. At its 1489th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1489),
on 15 August 2001, it adopted the following concluding observations.
279. The Committee welcomes the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth
and sixteenth periodic reports as well as the additional information
that the State party's delegation provided during its oral presentation
and in writing, and expresses its appreciation for the opportunity
to renew its dialogue with the State party after seven years.
280. The Committee welcomes the detailed and comprehensive report
submitted by the State party, which provides ample information particularly
on the legal order. The Committee furthermore notes that the report
has been drawn up in accordance with the Committee's revised guidelines
and responds to many questions raised during the examination of the
previous report in 1994. The additional oral information provided
by the delegation in response to questions asked by Committee members
is also appreciated.
B. Positive aspects
281. The Committee considers as very positive the significant role
of the Supreme Constitutional Court in the judicial system of the
State party in upholding human rights and constitutional guarantees,
particularly with regard to the protection of equal rights, as well
as the prevention and elimination of discrimination.
282. The Committee welcomes the fact that, pursuant to article 151
of the Constitution, international instruments, including the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,
form part of the domestic legal system and can be invoked directly
before the courts. Furthermore, access to the Supreme Constitutional
Court is guaranteed so as to enable citizens to challenge the constitutionality
of any domestic provision.
283. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the Supreme Constitutional
Court defines racial discrimination in terms very close to the definition
given by the Convention.
284. The Committee welcomes the significant efforts made by the State
party to ensure that its development strategy is implemented without
any discrimination on racial grounds and that it is equitable in its
reach, covering all regions of the country.
285. The Committee welcomes the initiatives taken by the Government
in the area of human rights education in schools and universities
and notes the efforts undertaken by the State party to teach and promote
a culture of human rights, tolerance and peace. The Committee encourages
such efforts and hopes the State party will continue along this path.
C. Concerns and
286. Although noting the view of the State party as to the homogeneity
of its population, the absence of notable ethnic minorities, and the
existence of some numerically small ethnic groups, including nomads,
Berbers and Nubians, as well as Egyptians of Greek and Armenian origin,
the Committee recommends the State party to provide information on
these groups, in particular economic and social indicators reflecting
their situation, including their participation in public life and
the preservation of their culture.
287. The Committee remains concerned that the legislation of the State
party does not seem to respond fully to the requirements of article
4 of the Convention, specifically article 4 (a), which requires States
parties to declare as an offence punishable by law all dissemination
of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial
discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such
acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic
The Committee notes that defamation as well as acts of violence or
the threat to use violence are punishable by law, but there is no
legal provision making ethnic or racial motivation for such acts an
aggravating circumstance. The Committee recommends that the State
party review its domestic legislation in the light of the provisions
of article 4 of the Convention so as to give effect to all its requirements,
as stated by the State party during the consideration of its previous
288. The Committee expresses its concern at the nationality law, which
prevents an Egyptian mother married to a foreigner from passing on
her nationality to her children. The Committee is also concerned that
children born to Egyptian mothers and foreign fathers are faced with
discrimination in the field of education. The Committee takes note
of the promise of the State party to revise the nationality law, which
discriminates against children born to Egyptian women married to non-nationals,
so as to bring it into line with the provisions of the Convention
and requests to be informed in the next report.
289. The Committee recommends that the State party continue its efforts
to train all personnel working in the field of criminal justice and
law enforcement officials in the spirit of respect for human rights
and non-discrimination on ethnic or racial grounds.
290. The Committee recommends that the State party resolve the difficulties
relating to the registration of some non-governmental organizations
dealing with the promotion and protection of human rights which are
working in particular to combat racial discrimination.
291. The Committee notes the absence in the report of references to
the contribution of non-governmental organizations in the preparation
of the report, and encourages the State party to collaborate with
non-governmental organizations during the preparation of the next
292. Noting that the State party is in the process of considering
the establishment of a National Council for Human Rights in accordance
with the Paris Principles concerning the establishment and functioning
of national institutions for human rights (General Assembly resolution
48/134), the Committee recommends that steps be taken to accelerate
this process and requests the State party to provide information on
the powers and functions of this institution in its next periodic
293. The State party is invited to provide further information in
its next periodic report on the following issues: (a) relevant cases
relating to racial discrimination before Egyptian courts, and the
decisions taken; (b) the economic and social situation of numerically
small ethnic groups, including access to education and the preservation
of their culture; (c) data on foreigners and their situation in the
country; (d) results of academic studies and surveys on numerically
small ethnic groups.
294. It is noted that the State party has not made the optional declaration
provided for in article 14 of the Convention, and the Committee recommends
that the possibility of such a declaration be considered.
295. The Committee recommends that the State party ratify the amendments
to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention, adopted on 15 January
1992 at the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention.
296. The Committee recommends that the State party's reports be made
readily available to the public from the time they are submitted and
that the Committee's observations on them be similarly publicized.
297. The Committee recommends that the State party submit its seventeenth
periodic report jointly with its eighteenth periodic report, due on
4 January 2004, and that it addresses all points raised in the present