Human rights organizations accuse a UN report of embellishing human rights violations in Egypt and providing misleading information

Three prominent human rights organizations have accused the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Human Development Report for September 2021 of including “false and misleading allegations” aimed at beautifying the serious violations of international human rights law committed by the Egyptian government and security forces.

In a joint letter sent in early November to UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, and shared with the office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the three organizations – Amnesty International, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, and Human Rights Watch – reviewed details The false and misleading claims made in the report, however, had not received any response at the time of writing this statement.

The three organizations said in the letter, “The Egyptian government continues to systematically distort the facts and deny the current human rights crisis in Egypt, despite the scale and seriousness of human rights violations. A UN agency’s giving credibility to such false allegations, issued by a government … facilitates their repetition and encourages escape from Punishment.”

In this context, the organizations called for the need to review the Human Development Report in Egypt by the United Nations Development Program to ensure that its contents are consistent with the assessments of other United Nations experts, and the United Nations human rights-based approach to the human development process. Pending this review, the organizations urged the United Nations Development Program to withdraw the report from all United Nations electronic platforms, open an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the drafting and publication of this report, and make its findings public.

In an appendix to the letter, the three organizations reviewed how the UNDP report’s narrative conflicted with assessments and findings by other UN bodies, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as reports by independent national and international human rights organizations over the past 8 years.

The organizations said the beautification of the UNDP report severely undermines the UN’s goal of a human rights-based approach to human development.

The three organizations called on UNDP to consult with relevant UN bodies, including human rights mechanisms and independent civil society actors, before issuing such reports.

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