ICHR calls on Egypt’s Government and the parliamentarians to uphold the human rights obligations and halt the approval of changes in  constitution, which leads to another dictatorship.

If the proposed changes by current president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi are approved it will facilitate the authorities crackdown on freedom of expression, association and assembly, which will deteriorate people’s rights, and worsen the human rights situation in the country. 

Egypt begins votings on these series of changes to its constitution that will tighten President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s grip on power and could allow him to stay in office until 2030. 

More than 61 million people are eligible to vote in the three-day referendum, and the State television showed President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi casting his ballots at a school in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis. More judges and administrative assistants were sent to several polling stations due to “huge” turnout.

Fourteen amendments to Egypt’s 2014 constitution are up for a vote, as well as two new articles, state news reported. The Egypt’s parliament voted Tuesday in favor of the changes.

One amendment would extend a presidential term from four to six years. It would also add two more years to Sisi’s current term and allow him to seek re-election for another six-year term in 2024.

Another measure would expand Sisi’s power over the legislative branch by creating an upper house known as a senate. The president would be able to handpick one-third of the members.

The size of the lower house would be reduced, from 596 to 450, with at least 25% of seats reserved for women.

The revised charter would also give the president new authority to appoint members of the judiciary.

Since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s came into power, he has cracked down on dissent. The regime of Sisi is known as widespread and systematic torture of political prisoners, silencing dissidents and using death sentences to cover up his human rights violations.

Now if the new changes are approved he will lead the country to dictatorship. As these amendments aim to expand military trials for civilians, undermine the independence of the judiciary, and strengthen impunity for human rights violations by members of the security forces, furthering the climate of repression that already exists in the country.

“Instead of upholding Egypt’s human rights obligations, parliamentarians have chosen to approve to put these amendments to the constitution to a public referendum, is a road towards dictatorship system as it will worsen the situation on freedom of expression and severe restrictions on political parties, independent media, and erode the people’s rights.” Said Ardeshir Zarezadeh, Executive Director for Iran, and The Middle East at ICHR Canada.