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Egypt has no balance between citizens' rights and the government's duties

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Arab governments, including Egypt's, generally believe that citizens' economic and social rights can be protected without a centralised commitment to safeguarding their civil and political rights. Government officials tend to give priority to the right to education, work, healthcare and social security rather than freedom of expression, freedom of association, participation in civil society organisations and political parties, and holding free and fair elections on a regular basis. Alternatively, they bend towards the need for openness towards civil and political rights before guaranteeing economic and social rights in order for society to stabilise, have cohesion and make progress.

From the 1950s to the present day, Egypt's state institutions have depended on the rhetoric of eliminating poverty, ignorance, unemployment and disease before turning to the "luxury" of freedom of expression and freedom of association. Politics have changed since the 1950s, from one party rule with one individual at the helm between 1954 and 1970 to the rule of another individual and his party within a restricted party pluralism that included some opponents during the Sadat and Mubarak eras. In all cases, the conviction that economic and social rights are paramount and should precede all others, remained solid.

With a short hiatus between 2011 and 2013 during which civil and political rights in the aftermath of the January Revolution were the priority, Egypt is now back to one individual-one party rule. The prioritising of economic and social rights under the current regime means that only the state institutions and the strong executive that controls them are entrusted with guaranteeing the rights to education, work, healthcare, etc. State institutions and the executive, it is........

© Middle East Monitor

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