November 12, 2007

II. Recommendations

To the government of Egypt

  • Implement the recommendation of the government-created National Council for Human Rights to eliminate the requirement to list religion on official identification documents.
  • Take immediate steps to ensure that any required religious identity in the Civil Registry, and any religious identity that the government continues to require on essential identification documents, accurately reflect an individual's actual religious belief, whatever that belief may be, without unfavorable civil or criminal consequences and in accordance with Egypt's obligations to respect the rights to freedom of religion under Egyptian and international law.
  • Exonerate any persons who were criminally convicted for having obtained forged identity documents solely because of the government's refusal to allow them to identify themselves as converts from Islam.
  • Instruct officials of the Ministry of Interior to cease pressuring individuals to convert to Islam or to accept an official religious identity against their wishes, and discipline officials who engage in such unacceptable practices.
  • Conduct media and public awareness campaigns, with participation from civil society, to promote religious tolerance and equal citizenship rights, and clarify that changing one's religion from Islam or publicly adhering to a religion other than Islam, Christianity, or Judaism should have no punitive civil or criminal consequences.
  • Adopt laws and other appropriate measures to fulfill the international legal obligation to uphold the rights of all individuals against discrimination, including on the basis of religion and belief. Ensure that individuals whose rights to freedom of religion or belief are violated shall have an effective remedy.
  • Grant the request, standing since 2005, of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief to conduct a mission to Egypt to assess the situation of religious freedoms and formulate recommendations for combating religious discrimination and intolerance.