A group of NGOs said on Sunday that the constitution, which is currently being amended, should include a set of comprehensive economic, social and cultural rights related to urbanisation and housing.
A statement signed by eight NGOs, including the Egyptian Centre for Social and Economic Rights and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, said the state has continued to abandon its commitment towards providing appropriate housing for impoverished and low income people for four decades.
The NGOs say official estimates indicate that around 20 million people live in 1,125 informal or unplanned settlements. That forms 23% of the population. The NGOs have prepared a document to provide suggestions for articles that should be included in the constitution, which is currently being amended by the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly has started voting on the constitution on Sunday.
The main rights that the document is pushing for include the right to participate in urban development operations, adequate housing and heritage and sustainable development. The right to public transport and movement within the city were also included in the document. The eight NGOs said the document presents a vision to create real change to Egypt’s urbanisation reality.
They added that the first step to create change is through the new constitution.
The NGOs said the state lacks “clear vision or comprehensive, fair and sustainable policies,” to deal with many issues like urban development and environmental issues. “The state has forgotten its primary role and the fact that it has a social purpose,” the statement read.
The groups want people to go through the document to adopt the rights included it and to develop it, ahead of a campaign to gather signatures to include the document in the constitution.