Egypt VP announces committee to reform constitution

[JURIST] Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman [Al Jazeera profile] stated Tuesday that President Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile] approved the formation of a committee to oversee changes to Egypt's constitution [text]. Suleiman announced Egypt's timetable for a peaceful transition of power and discussions that have taken place with opposition party representatives. The various participants involved in discussions with Suleiman [WP text of statement] expressed their "appreciation and respect" for the movement that took place beginning on January 25. Discussion participants expressed the need to address the lack of security in Egypt, disturbances and obstruction of public services, the suspension of education, delays in delivery of essential goods, losses of the Egyptian economy and attempts of foreign entities to intervene in Egyptian affairs. Suleiman indicated that a committee of judicial and political leaders from the government and from opposition parties will suggest constitutional and legislative amendments to address the current state of affairs in Egypt. The proposal period is expected to be completed by early March.

Egypt's government has reached out [JURIST report] to various opposition leaders since demonstrations erupted in the country, including the Muslim Brotherhood [official website], the oldest and largest Islamic political group in the world and currently banned from Egypt. Cooperation in the constitutional review, the Brotherhood said, will only continue if the current regime continues to meet other demands. These demands include the removal of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the repeal of emergency laws that have been in place for more than thirty years. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Friday called on Egyptian authorities to immediately release lawyers, journalists and human rights activists [JURIST report] who have been arrested and for the government to investigate whether the violence against protesters [JURIST report] has been planned. Pillay condemned the arrest last Thursday of 20 activists and lawyers [HMLC news release] from the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre [advocacy website, in Arabic] in Cairo.

 

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