Comparison between Citizenship Rights in Egypt before and after the Revolution
Civil rights mean the rights of citizens in a country to social and political freedom, as well as the equality. This is a class of rights, which protect the person’s freedom the State’s and private organizations’’ infringement. These rights make sure that individuals are free to participate in political and civil life of his country without repression or discrimination. Examples of civil rights include the right to safety, life, mental and physical integrity, protection form practices of discrimination on race, gender, religion, and ethnicity. In the Egyptian context, the violation of the civil rights was the norm throughout her history until June 2013. Women were discriminated openly. For example, in 1920, the constitution provided that the women had no financial freedom. They had to entirely depend upon the men for their needs. The physical integrity of citizens was violated in that they were tortured physically, thus impending their mental health and rights as well. The right to religion was also violated. The 1964 constitution for instance provided that the sharia law was the reference for women’s role in society. It meant that whether a woman was a Muslim or not, she had to adhere to the Islamic law (Rutherford 45).
Political rights are the rights that protect individual’s interests in politics. They are the rights to: natural justice, right to be tried, right to legal process, right to vote, freedom to involve in political associations, movement and assembly. The political rights in Egypt were another thing. There was no right to formation of any political party. There was imprisonment without trial. Many people were indeed imprisoned without being taken to court for hearing. The state reserved the right to arrest any person and subject them to torture in order to acquire political information from them.
The Rights in the Pre-Revolution Era (Mubark’s Era)
The pre-revolution era was categorized by different human right violation, state’s infringement and the suffering of humanity in the land of Egypt. The truth is that there was little care concerning the citizens. Although the country appeared to have constitution and government, there was no care for lives of people and their various rights. 30 years of Mubarak’s rule were accompanied by many troubles and the most important of which is the emergency regime and the violation of human rights, which it accompanies.
The ruling system in Egypt before the revolution was ridged in that there was no remarkable change. The voting rights however kept changing. The women were not allowed to vote by the 1920 constitution. They were not considered important members of the Egyptian society. They were property that was owned by men. In addition, there existed deplorable economic situation in the country. Unemployment, lack of opportunities, police lawlessness, bad health care system, overpopulation, congested highway and poor urban transport, nepotism and bribery in government agencies – Egypt suffered all these ailments as thirty years ago, and in 2011. The per capita income has been low, wages are not enough even for the first 10 days, many villages are still not connected to the electricity. The president Mubarak used his political position and authority to help his partners and simultaneously depressing the country more and more every day (Soueif). There was not fair elections in the country, no representative government was formed – it consists of only the Mubarak’s followers, there was no official opposition in the country (Soueif).
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The emergency law in Egypt was one of the worst state acts in Egypt during the pre-revolution period. The powers that had been given to the police were extended such that the police treated the Egyptians with so much brutality. They were used by the state to harass people. They were ruthless. Many reports showed that they were raping and sodomizing the citizens. There were torture chambers to deal with those who made any opposition to the state. Human rights were violated and the government had no provision to protect the people. There was indefinite imprisonment that was designed to suppress all the persons who intended to question the government. There was no political right to assemble or form a movement that would enlighten the people concerning their rights (Midant-Reynes 306).
The immediate issues that sparked the 2011 revolution were numerous. For instance, the emergency law that saw the police bears the capacity to torture and also abuse the Egyptian citizens. The police were shooting and torturing the citizens whose rights were not protected by the state and the constitution (Abdelrahman 294). The police were also corrupt such that they could not practice justice. They abused the rights of life, physical wellbeing by acts of sodomy and rape. Opposition groups such as the Muslim brotherhood were mistreated and considered as threat to the security of the nation yet they were fighting for their rights (El Mahdi and Marfleet 87).
After the 2011 Revolution
After the revolution in the year 2011, many changes were witnessed in Egypt. The Egyptioan authorities changed constitution 3 tymes, i.e. every year. Despite the fact that the country experienced some level of democracy (Bowman 25), the situation in the country did significantly changed. Indeed, there were areas of human rights that realized considerable changes such as minorities, education, minimum wage, emergency law, elections, but despite the adoption of these rule country still do not move towards the democracy. Minority groups in the country could air their grievances and have their voice had unlike before, 2011 when only the majority could be heard. The population of the Egypt opened their eyes to the real face of Muslim Brotherhood party and the revolution empowered the minorities in different sectors. It helped them rise to positions of power, where they could contribute in national decisions and fulfill their constitutional rights (Social Watch).
The minimum wage of employees in Egypt was increased from what it was before the revolution. Before the revolution, employees in Egypt are it working for the government or the private sector were getting miserable pays (Abdelrahman 297). However, dut to the decrease in the economic state of the country the increase in the wage had no effect on the populations’ economic level. If before the minimum wage was enough only for 10 days, after the revolution this wage was not sometimes enough for a week (“Egypt”).
Emergency law was abolished. That is; the traits that characterized the emergency law stopped functioning. The powers that police officers previously possessed were reduced, giving the people access to human rights. The freedom of police stayed, but decreased in comparison to the situation before the revolution. However, the great level of violence on the streets was even increase and the police officers were often the part of this violence. In addition, the case of violence against the journalists became more frequent.
Elections, experienced a considerable change in they were they were conducted after 2011. There was public mobilization to encourage people to participate in the voting process (Hatem 43). The adoption of new constitution changed the election system, but did not provide the basic human rights. The independence of branches of power, the military trials, transparency and the independence of justice system are not provided in the new constitution, which is the violation both the human rights and the basic rules of the democracy. Thus, here, the situation did not changed.
After June 30th till Now
Nowadays despite the temporary improvement, Egypt is turning back to the state before the revolution. New authorities decided that military powers are the best way to rule country and keep the democracy inside the country. Thus, the power of police and army is growing every day, which can lead to new revolution. Since the number of tourists has declined, vacancies even fewer – lost their jobs thousands of Egyptians working in the tourism business. Therefore, the county is economically instable and the wages and the wages level in the country is still very low. Speaking of women. If women had been sexually harassed and abused before the revolution, after it the gang rape and domestic violence became even more frequent. In the provinces, the law banned female circumcision again became a commonplace, which is the violation of human right (Hellyer).
Mubarak liberation from prison, the removal of restrictions on the political activities of the functionaries of the old regime, a return to tradition, according to which the country’s leader is likely to be the head and representative of the army, the prohibition of religious parties, a unicameral parliament – all this testifies to the fact that Egypt after three years revolution returns to the dictatorship, strongly reminiscent of the reign of the late Mubarak. When it comes to liberalization, the situation had improved for the religion (El-Faizy). This is evidenced by the attempt to cut off non-secular political regime supporters to participate in government (primarily, preventing them to parliament).
Hardest hit by these problems experience the Egyptian poor people. In previous times, they survived by relatives working in the Gulf countries and Libya, state or international aid and relatively low unemployment level (in comparison to what is now). Also, due to government subsidies (through which the bread was worth 1 cent per loaf, fuel – less than 20 cents per liter). Today, overseas transfers are significantly reduced, and youth unemployment has reached 25%. Based subsidies (fuel, bread, gas) became difficult to allocate, given that they represent more than 20 % of the budget at a budget deficit of 12-13 % of GDP (Hellyer).
However, this is the democracy. With Egyptian characteristics, but still a democracy. The current regime is much more democratic than Mubarak’s one. Under Mubarak’s rule everything was decided by the secret service, every citizen was under suspicion. A person might be put into a prison because of the wrong word or for inappropriate photos. Mubarak’s regime did not recognize civil rights, human rights. Nowadays, despite the country again is moving towards the military regime, the population achieved the right to vote, to express their thoughts and obtained a partial freedom.
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Nobody claims that Egypt would soon become America or Western Europe. No, it is impossible to demand from the state, citizens of which until recently lived in fear that it immediately began to fight for the rights of women, ethnic and sexual minorities. Egyptian leaders are not the leaders of the western wing, despite the fact that they strive to look like the western leaders and guarantee the same level of life to the citizens. Egyptian society is not a Western society. Anyone who does not understand this, do not know what Egypt is not aware of what the revolutionary processes going through this country. Egypt will remain religious, military, poor and restless state. Egyptians emotionality is their warranty obligation – the Egyptian people are able to force their leaders to listen to them and change the state of their country. Thus, the democracy movement in the country only begins to grow.