News / Middle East

UN Rights Chief Seeks Investigation of Egypt Clashes

Pro-government supporters are restrained by soldiers just outside Cairo's main square, Feb. 3, 2011
Pro-government supporters are restrained by soldiers just outside Cairo's main square, Feb. 3, 2011
Lisa Schlein

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for an international investigation to determine whether Egypt's security forces instigated violence that disrupted protests in Cairo and other cities in Egypt this week. 

U.N. Human Rights chief Navi Pillay says she is alarmed by what took place in Cairo and other Egyptian cities this week.  She says police were noticeably absent Wednesday and Thursday, when supporters of President Hosni Mubarak clashed with demonstrators demanding that President Mubarak step down.

Pillay says the army failed to separate the two groups, with "tragic consequences."  At least eight people died and nearly 900 were injured in two days of fighting around Tahrir Square in Cairo.

“In the last two days, we have seen chaos in central Cairo, and one of the prime drivers of this chaos seems to have been the actions of Egypt’s security and intelligence services," she said.  "I urge the authorities to make a strong, clear and unequivocal call on the security and intelligence forces that have protected the authoritarian regime in Egypt for the past 30 years, to stop undermining the security of the state they are supposed to serve.”  

Pillay urged Egyptian authorities to heed the voices of those who are asking for human rights and democracy.

She condemned the physical assaults, intimidation and detention of dozens of journalists, which she called a "blatant attempt to stifle news of what is going on in Egypt."

Some of Egypt’s leading activists were detained, as well as staff of two highly respected organizations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

“All journalists and human-rights defenders who were arrested for practicing their professions must be released immediately and unconditionally," Pillay said.  "The authorities must order their security and intelligence forces to cease this extreme harassment at once.  I also urge the authorities to maintain open communications and Internet services, protect media premises, and halt all activities aimed at restricting or manipulating the free flow of information.”  

In a joint statement in London Friday, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said more than 30 human-rights activists, journalists and lawyers have been missing since they were arrested in a raid Thursday at the Hisham Mubarak Law Center in Cairo. Witnesses said they saw a military unit leading the detainees away.

The U.N. High Commissioner says change is coming to Egypt, as it has come to Tunisia, but the violence and bloodshed must stop now.  Pillay urged all governments to listen to their people and practice their human-rights obligations.

Slide show on Egyptian protests

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid