Egypt’s New Charter Entrenches Unconditional ‘Human Dignity’

Egypt’s constitution drafting panel, tasked with amending the 2012 constitution, has drawn up an article establishing human dignity as an inalienable right, introducing a sub-article incriminating torture, official sources told Al-Ahram’s Arabic website.

The turmoil-hit country has received fierce condemnation from international organisations for continued violations of human rights, with police often reviled for flagrant abuses and excessive use of force against protesters.

Article 37 – the first of the constitution’s “human rights and liberties” section – stipulates that “human dignity is an inherent right for every human and shall not be compromised, and the state is committed to respect and protect it.”

The wording of the article has been slightly altered from that of the 2012 Islamist-drafted constitution, which was suspended pending amendment following the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

The provision has also dispensed with a proposition listing “torture, offence, physical assault and humiliation” as means of undermining personal and human dignity.

The move comes on the grounds that the protection of ‘human dignity’ should not be restricted to certain violations and not others.

A sub-article which criminalises all forms of torture has been added, sources said.

Amendment of the national charter is part of a transitional roadmap set forth by Egypt’s interim authorities following Morsi’s ouster, which promises parliamentary and presidential elections by mid-2014.

Source : Ahram