UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Wednesday condemned the recent violent clashes [press release] between Egyptian security forces and protesters and called for an independent investigation into the situation. Pillay "urge[d] the Egyptian authorities to end the clearly excessive use of force against protestors in Tahrir square and elsewhere in the country, including the apparent improper use of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition." She also called for a "prompt, impartial and independent investigation, and accountability for those found responsible for the abuses that have taken place." Pillay reminded Egyptian authorities that they "have an obligation to provide protection for all and ensure a peaceful and safe environment in the lead-up to next week's crucial elections."
Pillay's comments come on the heels of an Amnesty International [advocacy website] report which concluded that Egypt's ruling military council has committed numerous human rights violations [JURIST report], including abuse of protesters and journalists who voice their dissatisfaction with the government. On Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] and a group of independent human rights experts issued a joint statement [JURIST report] "express[ing] alarm at the degree of violence and deterioration of the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association which have led to loss of life in Egypt." Last Friday, as many as 50,000 protesters took to Tahrir Square in Egypt [JURIST report], decrying the military's continued rule over the nation since this year's revolution and were reportedly met with a violent reprisal from police forces. Protests have continued with reports of 35 killed and hundreds more injured.