CAIRO (AP) — Egypt has created a new high-powered human rights watchdog agency, but its primary mission isn't to protect Egyptians from violations.
Instead, the body is foremost aimed at protecting the government from allegations of rights abuses and defending it on the international stage.
The new body reflects an attitude of the state under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, which sees criticism over human rights as intended to undermine the government and cause instability at a time when the country is facing militant threats and trying to rebuild a battered economy.
The government has sought to redefine or broaden human rights, declaring new "rights" to fight terrorism and protect the state.
Critics see that as an attempt to legitimize and draw international attention away from alleged abuses by security forces.