lördag 30 juni 2012

Egypt's challenges

Europe must not betray its own principles yet again; we must support the development towards democracy and demand the rule of law and respect for human rights. The responsibility for making the Mediterranean an inland sea once again is both a long-term and a joint project for us all. Great challenges await Egypt's President-elect Muhammad Mursi following his victory in the historic presidential election. Mursi was in prison during the presidency of the same Mubarak that his rival Shafiq served. Some people voted for Shafiq despite their feeling of loathing because the alternative appeared more intimidating in the long term. Now Mursi has been elected Egypt's first popularly elected president ever. But the Military Council has not completely lost its grip on the country. The "head" is gone, but the body is still there - this is what people are saying in Cairo. Recently SCAF decided to expand its authority at the expense of Parliament and the Presidency. Many question marks remain for all the work involved in forming a new Constitution, and women's organisations in particular feel that they are being excluded from the process.

What will Mursi's approach be to human rights and freedoms? Will the rights of ethnic minorities such as those of the Copts - and women's rights - be safeguarded? Mursi has made a clear declaration that he is an Islamist. But the people want to have work and see and end to corruption. The result of the election was not a declaration of support for the fact that Religion has the answer to Egypt's problems. What the people want is an end to illiteracy and more investment in schools.

The President must immediately put a stop to sexual harassment and sexual violence against female demonstrators, and ensure that women who have been subjected to "virginity tests" are duly compensated for.

Despite the feeling of unease today, let us not forget that the Egyptians stood united together in Tahir Square during the revolution. The presidential election was mainly about the past - now the young generation is waiting impatiently for policies that can give them hope for a better future. Finally, a quote from Nawal El Saadawi: "I'm an optimist, because hope is power". / CH
Det talade ordet gäller, extradebatten hölls i Europarådet, PACE och rapporten antogs.  
(The Iranian leadership welcomes Mursi's victory and has called it an "Islamic awakening". The US President Barak Obama has called Egypt's newly elected President Mursi to congratulate him personally on his victory. The USA is eager to maintain good relations with Egypt, which has long been an important ally and link between Israel and the Arab world as a whole. Officially, Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israelis respect the democratic process in Egypt and look forward to continuing the long-standing peaceful relationship that has existed between the two countries since 1979. At the same time, there is a feeling of unease in Israel. I urge everyone to build bridges - inside Egypt, inside the whole region and with Europe.)