Middle East Studies Online Journal- ISSN 2109-9618- Issue n°6. Volume 3 ( Summer 2011)
Etudes du Moyen-Orient. N°6. Volume 3. ( Eté 2011)
.2011دراسات الشرق الأوسط، مجلة فكرية محكمة. العدد السادس . المجلد الثالث صيف
By Scott James Meyer*
Abstract: Though the Egyptian civilization is approximately 7,000 years old, it may still be considered a young nation in terms of human rights appreciation. It is a country beginning a drastic transition, and among the elements of Egyptian life starting to change is a new found hope for an enshrinement of basic human rights that have previously never been made available for the majority of the Egyptian population. It is my contention that the Egyptian people’s reaction to the consistent and flagrant human rights abuses of the Mubarak regime was the catalyst that started the revolution of 2011. I will further discuss the transitional nature of the human rights awakening in Egypt by comparing their current metamorphosis to that of the somewhat recently transitioned nations of the Czech Republic, South Africa and Tunisia.
Human rights violations are oftentimes unusually severe in countries going through a time of political, economic and social transition. Improving human rights standards and practices in transitional societies should be considered important for the good of the entire region and my paper attempts to direct the discussion of how a transitional human rights regime can become positively entrenched in the psyche of the newly awakened nation and region. Egypt now stands at a precipice where it must decide for itself if it wants to become a modern nation where rights for all are protected or if it will fall in line with the often abysmal human rights expectations of other nations in the region. With the disappointing experiences of the Mubarak regime still alive in the minds of the Egyptian people, my paper argues that we can remain cautiously optimistic that in the future, human rights will be more greatly respected than in the past. I argue that with the proper attention and support from the international community the growing pains of a free Egypt will be minimal while the rewards can be colossal.
Keywords: human rights, transitional human rights, revolutionary human rights, Egypt, Cairo, Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak, Wael Ghonim, international human rights law, middle eastern human rights, the Arab spring, universal declaration of human rights.
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* A.A. Broward College, B.A. Samford University, Juris Doctrate Birmingham School of Law, LLM University of Glasgow.