A report issued by the Egyptian Association against
Torture (EAAT) on 21 June provides evidence of abuse in prisons nationwide.
The report followed an unprecedented letter from the Ministry of the
Interior to members of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, denying
accusations that 38 incidents of torture and seven deaths occurred at
the hands of state security intelligence officers.
Sudanese refugees in Cairo say a recent decision by the United Nations to suspend resettlement interviews for six months confuses their situation and throws their future into doubt.
The policy change by the United Nations High Commisser for Refugees (UNHCR), which took effect on 1 June, suspends individual interviews for Sudanese asylum seekers until the political situation in the war-torn country becomes clearer.
“This is not a major policy change,” says Damtew Dessalegne, assistant regional representative at UNHCR’s Cairo office.
“The changes we have introduced are in fact to the benefit of asylum seekers in Egypt,” he told the Cairo Times. He says all refugees will continue to be granted UNCHR status that will allow them to obtain temporary resident status in Egypt.
The UNHCR made the decision in response to the nascent peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), who until recently were embroiled in the world’s longest-running civil war. full story
Global leaders and citizens have spent this year anticipating and arguing over what would happen after the 30 June transfer of power in Iraq. As the days ticked down, bringing the country closer to the transfer of sovereignty to an Iraqi interim government, a long-expected run of terror bombings ripped through Iraqi cities, fanning fears that sovereignty would do nothing to improve Iraqis’ most frequently articulated complaint, security.
Still, some Iraqis are optimistic about the transfer. They detested rule by foreigners, particularly the coalition leadership, which was perceived to be arrogant and unable to admit error. The public irresolution and private nepotism of the coalition’s appointed Iraqi Governing Council also sapped their confidence. Many of the optimists have warmed to the new Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who has gone on television vowing to take whatever “drastic measures” may be necessary to improve the security situation. Others have their confidence inspired by the new president, Sunni tribal leader Sheikh Ghazi Al Yawar, whose stately robes, some say, show that he is a man at home in a traditional society, who will know how to wield his authority in a way that people respect. full story
Does Samir Ragab live in Egypt? That’s
the question on everyone’s lips after his bizarre commentary on
Safwat Al Sherif’s move from information minister to head of the
Shura Council. “I believe that the choice of Sherif as speaker of
the Shura Council will bear positively on the march for democracy in Egypt
under the leadership of President Mubarak,” the editor of the state’s
Al Gomhouriya daily wrote in his 26 June publication. “In
addition, I’m confident that the choice of Sherif will enhance the
role of the Supreme Council for Journalism in promoting democracy in the
On 21 June, Cairo’s 11th Fête de
la Musique gathered singers, percussionists, a jazz band and a Frenchman
with an upright bass for a night of music beside the Nile. The event was
part of the international Fête de la Musique, which started in Paris
in 1982 and quickly spread to over 120 countries around the world.