Wednesday, 17 November 2010
IN EGYPT: if you have an electoral query or wish to report irregularities call NCHR, they'll be out of service!
In Egypt: if you have an electoral query; have a complaint about the electoral procedures; or wish to report any irregularities ... Please, don't hesitate to call us at the National Council for Human Rights : we'll make sure all of our numbers are out of service ...
The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) announced earlier that it is running helplines reachable on fifteen different numbers on more than one of Egypt's mobile network providers as well as a number of landline numbers. The helplines are, according to NCHR, functional during weekdays, weekends, Eid Al-Adha and other public holidays in the run-up as well as during and after the upcoming parliamentary elections due to be held next week. The purpose of these helplines is to provide citizens with advice regarding the electoral process; allow voters to enquire about procedures and locations of polling stations; as well as to provide them with a venue to report any irregularities in their constituencies.
This service was launched in a press conference held by NCHR Secretary-General, Ambassador Dr. Mahmoud Karem Mahmoud, who confirmed the telephone and fax numbers and claimed they had already started receiving calls and faxes from candidates and voters reporting irregularities in the the pre-election campaigning process.
Earlier today however, Radio Horytna.net reported that these numbers were actually "out of service" !
A man casts his ballot, Shura Council Elections, June 2010 (source)
It's worth noting that NCHR is an Egyptian organisation established in 2003 by decree of a law and under the patronage of the ruling National Democratic Party and incumbent President Mubarak himself. Since its establishment, NCHR's performance has been subject of great controversy. Critics have accused the council of appropriating civil society and human rights advocacy on behalf od the ruling party which is often criticised for human rights violations. Optimists, including many veteran NGO directors and secretary-generals who joined the ranks of the NCHR, argue NCHR provides Egyptian civil society with a platform to voice its concerns to circles and people closer to the ruling party, the president and key decision-makers. NCHR annual reports on the situation of human rights in Egypt have also been praised for their relatively courageous documenting of violations.
Radio Horytna.net said it would follow up on the case and determine whether or not this was a genuine technical fault that NCHR was working to resolve.