Declaration on Egypt

Meeting of the SI Council in Istanbul, Turkey, 11-12 November 2013

The Council of the Socialist International, meeting in Istanbul on 11-12 November 1203, reiterates the need for the restoration of the democratic agenda in Egypt, as expressed in the SI’s statement of 31 July 2013.

It has been demonstrated beyond doubt that the political rights and freedoms of all Egyptian citizens must be better protected. The SI has strongly condemned all actions in violation of these principles in Egypt, taken by successive governments. Those responsible for wrongs and criminal acts must be brought to justice, in particular those responsible for the killing of civilians exercising their right to protest peacefully.

Members of the former regime must also be held accountable for their actions at that time, if there is clear evidence of criminality and anti-democratic behaviour. The former president and the members of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership arrested following the overthrow of the democratically elected president by the military must without delay be given the opportunity to defend themselves against properly presented charges in a court of law or be released immediately if the legal justification for their detention does not exist.

The Council calls for a clear timetable to be drawn up for the reinstatement of the democratic process. Those who currently exercise power were not democratically elected. Though the actions of that government following its election were tantamount to an abandonment of democracy, this does not give validity to those who have seized power by force. A new government with democratic legitimacy is vital if the aims and objectives of those that overthrew an authoritarian regime in 2011 are to be realised.

The constitution currently being drafted risks suffering from the same lack of legitimacy as its predecessor. That attempt by President Morsi to seize complete control of the mechanisms of power did irreparable damage to his democratic credentials, as the regime overlooked the continuous responsibility they owed to the democratic process. The attacks on churches, Copts, and public and private properties by pro-Morsi followers, subsequent to the forcible break up of the sit-ins, are unacceptable.

Following the military overthrow of the regime of President Morsi, there is a pressing need for reconciliation in Egypt. Just as the constitution promulgated by President Morsi displayed a lack of consultation, the exclusion of democratically elected representatives of a significant percentage of the Egyptian population from the constitutional process is unacceptable. The only way to draft a legitimate, civilian constitution that guarantees the rights and freedoms of all is to ensure that all political actors are represented during this process.

The SI offers its support to the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, ESDP, in its work to ensure that democratic criteria prevail in any future institutional framework of Egypt, rejecting unacceptable notions such as that of civilians being tried in military courts, which runs completely against the values of our movement. The Council expresses its solidarity with the ESDP in its efforts to uphold the spirit democracy and freedom.

A free media is a cornerstone of any democratic society, and the Council calls for an end to be placed on censoring of opposition media outlets and restrictions to the freedom of the press. It is vital that the press can hold to account those leading the country without living in fear of arrest and persecution.