UN rights experts urge restraint in Egypt

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] and a group of independent human rights experts on Monday called on Egyptian authorities to guarantee the protection of human rights and civil liberties during the country's most recent incidents of civilian-police clashes [JURIST report]. The rights experts, including the UN special rapporteurs on summary executions, freedom of expression, human rights defenders and freedom of peaceful assembly issued a joint statement [text] "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." The secretary-general's statement [text] reads in its entirety:

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the violence in Egypt during the last few days, particularly in Cairo. He deplores the loss of life and the many injuries. The Secretary-General calls on the transitional authorities to guarantee the protection of human rights and civil liberties for all Egyptians, including the right to peaceful protest. He urges restraint and calm by all parties to enable a peaceful and inclusive electoral process as part of Egypt's transition to democracy and the early establishment of civilian rule."
Many fear the recent protests will impede upcoming elections. The November 28 election is considered the first free election following the overthrow [JURIST report] of Hosni Mubarak [JURIST news archive] in February.

As many as 50,000 protesters took to Tahrir Square in Egypt on Friday, decrying the military's continued rule over the nation since this year's revolution, and on Saturday were reportedly met with a violent reprisal from police forces. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) [party website] organized the protests earlier this week [press release] in an attempt to force the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) [NYT backgrounder] to "intervene and withdraw the supra-constitutional principles proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Elselmy." The MB believes the proposed law [text] would integrate the military into the political system in violation of the constitution [text]. Since the protests began, reportedly more than 500 people have been injured and 18 arrested [Al Ahram report]. Struggles began when riot police attempted to dismantle a tent camp [Al Jazeera report] memorializing activists killed in the revolution. Latest reports reveal that protesters were attempting to storm the Ministry of the Interior [official website] and were deterred by police firing rubber bullets.

 

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