Egypt’s Minister of Justice Mahfouz Saber has stirred controversy across Egypt after declaring that children of garbage collectors cannot become judges as they must grow up in a “respectable” environment.
During a live television interview, the Minister of Justice answered a question regarding the Justice Ministry’s employment criteria.
“With all due respect to the garbage collector, and anyone else beneath him or above him, it is necessary for the environmental medium where a judge grows to be suitable,”said the Justice Minister.
“A judge has his highness and position, he must come from a respectable medium, both financially and morally.”
The Minister added that if a garbage collector would be hired as a judge, he would suffer from depression and other issues. The Minister, who said this statement is based on prior experience, did not clarify what ‘issues’ he was referring to.
Asked whether this means the garbage collector and his children are deprived of employment, the Minister said the they would find a job that is suited to them.
Following the statements, Egyptians have taken to social media to call for the resignation of the Justice Minister. On Twitter, the top trending hashtag in Egypt calls for the Minister to be replaced.
Meanwhile, following the statements, Egypt’s former vice President Mohammed El-Baradei criticized what he called was a lack of the “concept of justice.”
الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الانسان: “لكل شخص بالتساوي مع الآخرين حق تقلد الوظائف العامة في بلده” عندما يغيب مفهوم العدالة عن وطن لا يتبقي شيء.
— Mohamed ElBaradei (@ElBaradei) May 10, 2015
“When the concept of justice is absent from a nation, nothing remains,” said El-Baradei, who has been living abroad since he resigned in 2013 over the bloody dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins in August 2013. El-Baradei added that the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights preserves “the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.” In solidarity with garbage collectors, social media users have posted their support and praise of garbage collectors’ crucial role in society.
If the minister of ” justice ” can make such racist comments, the travesty of justice in many of the cases #Egypt shouldn’t surprise us
— shahiraamin13 (@sherryamin13) May 11, 2015
#Egypt‘s Minister of Justice says sons of garbage collectors cannot become judges. Yet another proof that justice in Egypt is just a farce.
— Mina Fayek (@minafayek) May 10, 2015