Wednesday 17 August 2011

Abridged Version Of Egypt's "Basic Constitutional Principles Charter"

Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm released an "abridged version" of the proposed "Basic Constitutional Principles Charter". I'm mirroring it here on the blog as I do with all important documents, again for easy future access and documentation. The full Arabic version can also found here. As a reminder, the document has been unanimously approved by all major political forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, except for the Salafi movements & parties, as well as the Al-Adl (Justice) Party. However, even the approving forces also refuse that the charter becomes part of a new Constitutional Declaration by SCAF.

Original Link for this document, with commentary by the newspaper and readers is here:

I also wrote a previous note on the issue here, before the charter was actually released, and while everything was simply a matter of speculation, including the possibility of a full Turkey-inspired role for the Army as a "Guardian" of the "Civil State."

The Democratic Alliance

Al Masry Al Youm translates and abridges the Charter as follows:

Basic Principles:
  1. The Arab Republic of Egypt is a civil democratic state based on citizenship and the rule of law, and respects pluralism, and guarantees freedom, justice, and equality, and provides opportunities to all citizens without discrimination. The Egyptian people are part of the Arab nation, and work for achieving its comprehensive unity.
  2. Islam is the state religion, the Arabic language is its official language, and Islamic Sharia is the primary source of legislation. Non-Muslims resort to their own laws in regards to their personal issues and religious affairs.
  3. Sovereignty is given to the people alone, and they are the source of authority, which they exercise through referendums and fair elections…
  4. The political system for the democratic republic is based on balance of power between various branches of government and the peaceful transfer of power, and the multiplicity of political parties and their establishment by notification…
  5. The national economy is based on comprehensive and sustainable development, which aims to achieve social well-being and fulfill citizens’ most basic needs, promote investment, protect free competition, prevent harmful monopolistic practices, protect the consumer, and guarantee that the benefits of economic growth are fairly distributed to the citizens. The state commits to protecting public property under its supervision, along with its wealth, national resources, lands, and national heritage, in both the material and moral sense…
  6. The state alone may establish the armed forces, which is the people’s property, and whose role is to protect the country’s security and independence, along with its unity and sovereignty over all its land. It is forbidden for any federation, group, or party to create military formations or anything resembling them.
Rights and General Freedoms:
  1. Human dignity is every person’s genuine right, and all Egyptian citizens are free and equal before the law in rights and freedoms and general obligations. Discrimination among them due to sex, origin, language, religion, creeds, wealth, social status, political views, or disabilities or anything of that sort is forbidden.
  2. The state guarantees freedom of belief, worship, and religious slogans and protects the role of worship.
  3. Egyptian nationality is a genuine right of all citizens and stripping citizenship or exiling any Egyptian from his country or preventing him from returning is forbidden, except in the case of a justified judicial ruling.
  4. Freedom of conscience, expression and the media are guaranteed, so long as they do not violate the sanctity of individuals’ private lives, the rights of others, and the fundamentals of Egyptian society. Sabotaging the media, or censoring it or its sources, is forbidden, except as a result of a justified judicial decision, and for a limited period.
  5. Every human being has the right to uncover, transfer, and publish information and participate in cultural and artistic life in all its forms. The state guarantees the freedom of academics, scientific research, imagination, and innovation, and guarantees the independence of universities and scientific research centers.
  6. Every human has the right to enjoy the sanctity of his private life, correspondence, telephone conversations and electronic messages and other forms of communication. Arresting, searching, detaining, confining him, or restricting his personal freedom is forbidden, except with prior judicial order… Except in cases of crimes pertaining to the armed forces, civilians may not be tried in front of any exceptional or military court.
  7. Private property is protected, except in case of judicial ruling and in exchange for fair compensation…
  8. The right to work is guaranteed. The state strives to provide work opportunities to every citizen with the condition of fairness without discrimination, and commits itself to setting a minimum wage to guarantee the citizen human dignity and an appropriate standard of living. Every citizen has the right to assume a public post as long as he is qualified for the position.
  9. Every citizen has the right to a secure life, a pollution-free environment, proper nutrition, habitation, healthcare, exercise, as well as insurance against unemployment, sickness and old-age in accordance with the requirements of justice and social solidarity.
  10. The citizen has a right to an education, and the state commits to providing educational opportunities in its educational institutions for free …
  11. The citizen has the right to set up syndicates, unions, groups, and civil foundations, and they have the right to assemble and demonstrate peacefully without prejudicing the rights of others or the basic rights, principles, or freedoms written in this document.
Translated from the Arabic Edition
End of quotation...

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