President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met on Monday with Mohamed Fayek, chairman of the National Council for Human Rights, at the presidential palace in Heliopolis.
Presidential spokesperson Ihab Badawi said the president listened to the council’s assessment of the human rights situation in Egypt and presented his vision as to how to balance between security requirements and the rights and freedoms that people have always sought even before the 25 January and 30 June uprisings.
He also said the president assured that the election of the new parliament would be an essential step towards converting the legislative provisions of the Constitution to binding laws, particularly with regard to rights and freedoms, women's empowerment and the participation of youths.
He said Sisi highlighted the importance of expanding human rights to include economic and social rights, particularly the right to work, so that young people do not fall as prey to the forces of extremism and terrorism.
He quoted Sisi as saying that the Egyptian state fully respects the universal values of human rights and aims to regulate them so as to provide a climate conducive to advancing the economy and ensuring that citizens have access to their economic and social rights.
Fayek relayed certain complaints received by the council on violations during arrests, the length of pretrial detention periods and the inappropriate conditions of some prisons. He also said the council is facing difficulties in its periodical visits to prisons, which Sisi promised to facilitate.
Sisi ended the meeting by asserting that all state agencies will coordinate with civil society organizations and the National Council for Human Rights to ensure rights and freedoms.
The new government led by President Sisi has fallen under heavily criticism for mass death sentences, detainment of the political opposition, cracking down on the press and the protest law, which imprisons those who demonstrate without prior authorization from the Interior Ministry.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm