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HRW Investigates Egypt Human Rights Abuses

  • Peter Clottey

Interim President Adly Mansour, right, meets with Hazem el-Beblawi, left, in Cairo, Egypt, July 9, 2013.

Interim President Adly Mansour, right, meets with Hazem el-Beblawi, left, in Cairo, Egypt, July 9, 2013.

The U.S-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has launched an investigation into alleged human rights violations in Egypt during the clashes between supporters and opponents of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.

Joe Stork, the Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa at Human Rights Watch, says the rights group has expressed concern about the violent clashes, which have left dozens dead and hundreds injured.

“We have a small team of people there who are doing their best to investigate,” Stork said. “So far, what we’ve looked at has been in Cairo, itself. There are things happening in other cities that we haven’t yet been able to look at.”

Stork said Human Rights Watch plans to release its preliminary report on the latest clashes in Egypt on Wednesday.

The rights group has expressed worry about the shooting death of about 50 Morsi supporters near a military complex on Monday.

“We are extremely concerned about what is going on,” said Stork, “We document actual violations of right to life, freedom of assembly and freedom of association and freedom of expression and that’s what we are doing.”

Stork said Egypt’s security agencies must respect human rights.

“They should not be using excessive force; they should not be using lethal force, except to the extent absolutely necessary to protect lives,” said Stork.

His comments came after Egyptian authorities warned against attempts to undermine the North African country’s political transition. Morsi supporters have been protesting his ouster and have rejected plans for elections.

“We are calling on the people on the street [and] we are calling on political leaders to urge their followers not to use arms, not to engage in acts of violence, which often constitutes criminal acts,” said Stork.

“The police have a responsibility to respond to criminal acts, but how they respond is very important, and just shooting on the crowd is not an acceptable response.”

Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, has chosen veteran economist and former finance minister Hazem el-Beblawi as the interim prime minister. He also chose Mohammed ElBaradei, the opposition leader and former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to be vice president for international affairs.

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