Egyptian human rights organization warns of draft law regulating protests

News article, posted 03.16.2012, from Egypt, in:
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Egyptian human rights organization warns of draft law regulating protests (Photo: Al-Masry Al-Youm)

A draft law being prepared by the Parliament's powerful legislative committee will severely restrict citizens' right to demonstrate, warned the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights in a Thursday statement. 

Cabinet sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm on 10 March that the cabinet was about to finish a draft law on protests and submit it to the Parliament for a vote. 

The human rights organization did not clarify whether the cabinet draft law is the same as the one allegedly being prepared by the People's Assembly's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee. 

The statement said the committee bill includes stipulations that would make it difficult for public protests to be staged without breaking the law. Such a law should only be issued after society-wide discussions and debates in order to reach a consensus, the statement added. 

The statement stressed that protesting is an essential right guaranteed by international conventions and treaties, and that no restrictions should limit that right unless a demonstration threatens national security or the rights of individuals living in a democratic country. 

Hafez Abu Seda, the head of the group, emphasized the need for a law that regulates protests without restricting them, so that people can exercise their rights.