Egypt's Constitution Fails to Protect Human Rights, Minorities, Ros-Lehtinen Says


(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today released the following statement on Saturday’s final round of voting on Egypt’s draft constitution:

“Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-led government will be claiming a victory after this Saturday’s referendum on Egypt’s new constitution.  However, the stark reality is that this is a defeat for the Egyptian people.  We must not forget that this new constitution not only fails to protect many Egyptians, but also fails to meet international standards for protecting basic human rights.  In his attempt to solidify power, Morsi excluded the opposition parties and religious and ethnic minority groups from the drafting process.  The Muslim Brotherhood-led government was then able to integrate sharia law into key aspects of the constitution, omitting pivotal protections for ethnic and religious minorities.

“We cannot celebrate the trade of an authoritative regime for an Islamic dictatorship. Morsi’s constitution lacks key democratic principles that allows for the oppression of secular and Christian Egyptians and fails to protect basic human rights.  The U.S. must hold the Morsi government accountable for its actions and the Obama Administration must not simply grant Egypt funds whenever it asks.  We must use our aid as leverage to promote democratic reforms, support freedom of religion, and enshrine the protection of minority communities.”

NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen is the author of H.R. 6657, the Egypt Accountability and Democracy Promotion Act, which conditions U.S. aid to the Egypt upon certification by the Secretary of State that Egypt is not controlled by, or under the influence of, or include any policy-makers with ties to, a foreign terrorist organization or its affiliates/supporters; has adopted and implemented reforms that protect the rights and freedoms of all Egyptians, and is not acting to restrict those rights and freedoms; is fully implementing the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty; and is taking real steps to stop smuggling between Egypt and Gaza and to crack down on violent extremist groups and activities in the Sinai.

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