The most significant improvement noted was the handover of power from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to the democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, after presidential elections took place in June.
Topping the list of concerns were women’s rights, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
Sectarian violence has also plagued the transition period. The report noted that the British Prime Minister raised the issue of protecting religious minorities with President Morsi last September. The report also mentioned the financial support provided by the British government towards conflict resolution training and projects established between popular Muslim and Christian groups.
The report highlighted the vague nature of the constitution, passed in a referendum in December, pertaining to certain human rights components. Minority religions are not given the right and freedom to practice their religion as Muslims, Christians and Jews are.
“We are concerned about limits on freedom of expression in Egypt, including the increase in prosecutions of bloggers and activists, closing of satellite television stations, and lack of clarity on the definition of blasphemy, which is illegal under the new constitution,” the report wrote.
“We are also concerned about ongoing harassment and intimidation of trade union officials as well as the article in the new constitution which prohibits more than one trade union per profession. Trade unions have an important role to play in developing a healthy democracy,” the report continued.
The report noted the support the British government provides to Egypt’s trade unions through the joint-funded FCO–DFID Arab Partnership Fund, “to develop and promote economic and social policy recommendations.”