Week in Brief – October 28, 2018 – November 3, 2018

11/05/2018 . By TIMEP

Summary

  • Representatives from the Mashreq Committee in the European Parliament traveled to Egypt and met with officials from the Egyptian House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Karim Darwish discussed current security developments in Egypt as well as the House’s role in promoting the interests of minority groups both inside and outside of the legislature.
  • A delegation from the Human Rights Committee, under Chairman Alaa Abed’s leadership, visited the Nasser Police Station in Beni Suef to meet with inmates and inspect the station’s facilities. Abed later praised the Ministry of Interior for its efforts in safeguarding human rights at prisons nationwide.

Notable Developments

European Parliament’s Mashreq Committee Visits Egypt:

A delegation from the Mashreq Committee in the European Parliament visited Egypt this week, meeting with parliamentary officials, representatives from the National Council for Women, and officials in the National Council for Human Rights.[1] Karim Darwish, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House, hosted the delegation, where he discussed Egypt’s migration policies, promotion of youth empowerment and women’s representation in parliament, Egypt’s counter-terrorism policies, and attempts to bridge the divide between organized religious groups. At the conclusion of their delegation visit, the representatives from the Mashreq Committee spoke about their role in promoting human rights and encouraging economic development and praised Egypt’s efforts to combat terrorism, though reports on the trip originated from Egyptian media and no European sources have commented on the delegation visit.

Human Rights Committee Praises Conditions at Prison:

A delegation from the Human Rights Committee visited the Nasser Police Station in Beni Suef. The group, led by Committee Chairman Alaa Abed, inspected the station’s facilities and met with prisoners at the police station. The delegation asserted that there were not any human rights infringements or personal freedom violations, and Abed later praised the conditions at the station as “favorable.” But Abed also recommended that human rights officers in police stations ought to receive additional training.

Other Developments

In Legislation:

Representative Tariq Mutawali of the Manufacturing Committee submitted a draft law that would increase the severity of punishment for individuals who steal metallic objects for the purpose of selling them as scrap metal.

Representative Yassen Abdel Sabour of the Tourism Committee submitted an amendment to the Education Professionals Union Law, which was referred to the Suggestions and Complaints Committee. The amendment outlines the definition, purpose, and membership requirement of the union.

The Social Solidarity Committee discussed Representative Rasha Ramadan’s draft law reestablishing the National Council for Families and Population. Under the proposed bill, the new council would devote increased attention to the issue of overpopulation.

In Session:

Representative Muhammad Fuad of the Energy Committee submitted a briefing request to Speaker of the House Ali Abdel ‘Al, Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli, Agriculture Minister Ezz al-Din Abu Satit, and Supply Minister Ali al-Maseelhi on the ongoing potato crop crisis.

The Local Administration Committee called on Suez Governor Abdel Mageed Saqr to appear before parliament within 15 days to outline his development plan for the governorate. This deadline comes after the governor failed to show up to the committee’s meeting on Wednesday.

Representative Raif Tamraz of the Agriculture Committee submitted a briefing request to the Ministry of Religious Endowments to disclose publicly the extent of agricultural property under its possession.

Representative Muhammad Fuad of the Energy Committee submitted a briefing request to Abdel ‘Al, Madbouli, and Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry on the number of refugees residing in Egypt and the role that Egypt plays on an international level.

The Arab Affairs Committee condemned the terrorist attack in Tunisia and called upon the international community to exert a greater role in combating terrorism.

Representative Jon Talaat of the Communications Committee received permission from the cabinet and various housing authorities to redevelop slums in Ezbet al-Safeh and Sayyida Farag in Cairo.

The African Affairs Committee met with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss Egypt’s role in providing humanitarian assistance to other African countries and Islamic countries, Egypt’s relationship with the United Nations, and the role of international organizations. Committee Chairman Tariq Radwan asserted the need to establish a ministry specifically for African Affairs in order to fulfill Egypt’s regional obligations.

In News and Statements:

Abdel ‘Al traveled to Sharm el-Sheikh to participate in the World Youth Forum.

Republican People Party Chairman Hazim Amr stated that the party will collaborate with other political groups during the World Youth Forum to seek alternative avenues for the current political party system.

During the meeting between Human Rights Committee Chairman Alaa Abed and Italian Ambassador to Egypt Giampaolo Cantini, the two officials discussed the human rights situation in Egypt, general bilateral relations, and the committee’s upcoming delegation visit to Italy at an undisclosed time.

Dostour Party members convened to discuss their political road map and refine the party’s platform in the hopes of re-entering parliamentary politics. Ambassador Shoukry Fouad, one of the party’s founding members, was also in attendance.

The African Affairs Committee hosted Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt Azanaw Tadesse. Azanaw and Committee Chairman Tariq Radwan expressed mutual determination to coordinate with each other on a variety of bilateral issues.

The British-Egyptian Parliamentary Friendship Committee, led by Representative Dalia Youssef, hosted the United Kingdom’s new ambassador to Egypt, Geoffrey Adams.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Karim Darwish asserted that the committee has a number of outstanding invitations to visit foreign countries, but they must receive the approval of Abdel ‘Al to visit other countries.

Representative Tariq al-Khouli of the Foreign Affairs Committee asserted that the international community ignored Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s unjust treatment of Turkish Kurds and added that the international community is adhering to Erdogan’s current political agenda. Khouli, however, did not specifically reference the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Representative Margaret Azer of the Human Rights Committee stated that the committee received all of the nominations for new members on the National Council for Human Rights. She also noted that the list will be sent to the general body of the House to discuss, as the committee is just one part of the nomination process.

Representative Ahmed Imbabi of the Arab Affairs Committee called on European countries to formally declare the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

Tourism Committee Chairman Amr Sedki stated that the committee is collaborating with the Media Committee, Ministry of Tourism, and other government authorities to promote Egypt’s international image in repudiation of allegations made by Western countries and organizations.

Communications Committee Chairman Ahmed Badawi stated that the committee is preparing a list of unlicensed websites to submit information on them to the Supreme Media Council. Badawi added that the emphasis of the committee’s investigation will be on websites that defame the Egyptian state.

Looking Ahead

  • A parliamentary delegation will be traveling to the U.K. next week to meet with officials in the U.K. Parliament, though it is unclear who will be traveling from Egypt.
  • Wafd Party Chairman Bahaa Abu Shoqa will meet with the candidates for the Wafd Party high council in the near future; 124 individuals submitted their candidacy applications, though it is unclear whether all of the applications were accepted.

[1] The delegation included Committee Chairwoman Marisa Matias, Francesc Gambus, Gilles Pargneaux, and Javier Nart.