• 01:25
  • Friday ,30 November 2012

Assembly unanimously approves constitutional articles on freedoms

By-Almasry Alyoum

Home News


Friday ,30 November 2012

Assembly unanimously approves constitutional articles on freedoms

 The Constituent Assembly began voting on the draft constitution on Thursday afternoon, with 85 members present.

The assembly is voting on each of the 234 articles one by one, and 67 members must approve of an article in order for it to pass.
The first article of the constitution, which states that Egypt is an independent, sovereign, democratic state and a part of the Arab and Islamic nation and the African continent, was unanimously accepted.
The body also approved Article 2, which was the subject of much debate over past months and states that the principles of Sharia are the primary source of legislation. Article 3, which stipulates that Christians and Jews may resort to their own religions on issues of personal status, was also approved, but with four objections. 
Four members also objected to Article 4, which lays out the role of Al-Azhar, stipulating that it is an independent Islamic body that is committed to teaching about Islam in Egypt and the rest of the world. The head of the institution is independent and cannot be dismissed, and the state will ensure that it has sufficient funding. 
Article 36, which stipulates that detainees cannot be tortured or humiliated and must be held in a location that is morally and ethically appropriate was approved by all members. The word "torture" was a new addition to the article.
A new article, number 31, stipulating that dignity is a right for all that is protected by the state, which prohibits insults and disdain, was unanimously accepted. Article 32, which states that Egyptian nationality is a right and is regulated by law; the controversial Article 33 stating that citizens are equal before the law, in public rights and duties, without discrimination; and Article 34 stating that personal freedom is a natural right were also supported by all members.
One member objected to Article 26, which states that social justice is the basis of taxation, and that taxation cannot be amended or canceled and exemptions cannot be allocated without a law.
There was also consensus on articles involving agriculture and natural resources, including the state's duty to preserve the Nile River, the diversity of crops, food sovereignty and protect farmers from exploitation.
Article 14, which states that the national economy aims for development and better living conditions, the eradication of poverty, improving work opportunities, GDP and social justice, and distribution of wealth, was approved by 83 members and rejected by two.
There was consensus on a series of articles on state and citizenship duties, including that conscription shall be regulated by law, social and ethical principles.
Several articles regulating freedoms of expession, media and religion were unanimously approved by the assembly. Article 43 guarantees the freedom of expression, while Article 44 forbids insults against any prophets. Article 48 guarantees the freedom of the media, stating that the media outlets and newspapers could not be controlled, monitored, disrupted or shut down except by judicial order.
Article 50 preserves the right to public assembly and unarmed protests, with "notification" as required by law.
When the draft constitution is approved, which is expected, it will be submitted to President Mohamed Morsy on Saturday, who will announce the date of a public referendum on the document.
The constitution drafting process has been marred by controversy and many non-Islamist members have pulled out in protest.