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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid