The International United Nations Watch Welcomes the move taken by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to postpone its scheduled Cairo conference on torture following concerns raised by human rights defenders about torture being practiced in Egypt.
UNHRC was supposed to co-host the regional conference to define and criminalize torture with the Egyptian government’s National Council for Human Rights between 4 and 5 September 2019. Some 80 participants from governmental and non-governmental institutions from 19 Arab countries were expected to attend the conference.
In February, Robert Colville, the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said torture is widespread in Egypt, however, he described the conference as “a very normal type of conference.”
“The move by UNHCR to postpone the conference is a step in the right direction, since a widespread campaign of torture against prisoners in Egyptian jails is taking place. We hope that UNHRC comes to the conclusion that the conference should be called off altogether,” said Maya Garner, the spokesperson of IUNW.
“IUNW hopes that countries that torture their people will not be given the platform to preach to other countries about torture. It is ironic to have this situation in the first place,” noted Garner.