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Egypt: Human Rights Council

Egypt's bloggers held their own online protest on the eve of the election of Egypt to the UN Human Rights Council. Bloggers Nora Younis and the Free Kareem and the Free Monem blogs all posted a video stating why the country shouldn't be on the council. Kareem was jailed for four years for insulting Islam and Egypt's President while Monem is detained for his writings online.

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  • Human Rights Violations Tied to Egypt‘s Hepatitis C Pandemic

    New York, January 28, 2008 – Human rights violations charges were filed with the New York State Division of Human Rights against the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). At issue are charges that the NYSDOH impeded – and eventually blocked – the progress of clinical studies designed to find treatment options for the hepatitis C pandemic currently afflicting the Egyptian population.

    In Egypt, where a hepatitis C pandemic has been growing for decades, the prevalence rate for hepatitis C is the highest in the world. Some studies show that up to 20% of the Egyptian citizenry – now estimated at 70 million – has come in contact with the virus. A vaccination program gone awry provides a partial explanation for this massive infection rate.

    The National Research Centre (NRC) in Cairo, Egypt, responding to this huge public health crisis, contacted Medizone International, Inc., a U.S. company engaged in developing complementary therapies for hepatitis C, seeking its immune activation technology.

    According to Gerard Sunnen, MD, former president and director of research for Medizone, the NYSDOH stopped the study at a time when all contracts were signed and study volunteers in Egypt had already been selected. ‘‘The motives seem clear. The NYSDOH strongly opposes complementary therapies. More importantly, however, is the influence of special interests, potent economic forces fighting to keep the status quo on established pharmaceutical pipelines. Conventional hepatitis C drug therapies are prohibitively costly for such large target populations and are inordinately prone to failure and to serious side effects. The Medizone process, by contrast, is considerably less onerous,“ Dr. Sunnen said. “For a state agency like the NYSDOH to actively interfere in the internal operations of a company engaged in an international goodwill mission is as puzzling as it is outrightly destructive,“ he added.

    “Special interests and other agendas can all too easily kill innovative medical research,” Dr. Sunnen concluded, adding, “When that happens, the public interest invariably suffers. In this case, the disenfranchised include not only the millions of Egyptian patients, but also the some 170 million people who, according to World Health Organization estimates, are afflicted with this serious disease.”

    The complaint was filed with the New York State Human Rights Division on behalf of the Egyptian hepatitis patients wronged by the study’s demise. “Patients have a right to the fruits of research created to benefit them,” Dr. Sunnen said, adding that “by bringing down this study the NYSDOH transgressed fundamental human rights and tampered with international goodwill.”

    CONTACT INFORMATION:

    Gerard Sunnen, M.D.
    Ozonics International, LLC
    200 East 33 Street, Suite 26J
    New York, NY 10016-4831 USA
    Tel. 1-212-6790679 / Fax 1-212-6798008
    Ozonicsint.com
    GSunnen@aol.com

    ###

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