In an urgent letter this morning, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) demanded the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Human Rights Council, international human rights organizations, and all other agencies of the United Nations focused on human rights issues to pressure the Egyptian government to stop all acts of violence and the use of excessive force against peaceful unarmed protestors in Cairo’s Tahrir square as well as in many other squares in cities across Egypt. CIHRS also urged these agencies to remind the Egyptian government of its international obligations to respect human rights, as the international human rights law to whichEgyptis a signatory has thus become part of the national legislation to which the Egyptian government is bound.
This letter comes in the wake of the escalation of acts of repression taken against the peaceful protest movements which began on 19 November and which continue as of this writing. These protests have been met with severe violence by police forces supported by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Numerous soldiers of the armed forces also participated in using excessive force to break up theTahrir Squaresit-in, as well as in the destruction and burning of private property owned by citizens. Until now, this use of force has left over 33 dead and 1000 injured, in addition to the arrests of dozens of activists and peaceful protesters.
At the same time, the government expresses its gratitude to police forces for their self control in not resorting to violence, thus completely disregarding the deaths of dozens of peaceful protesters and the injuries of hundreds more.
These confrontations are the most violent since the fall of Mubarak, as the army and the police have now joined forces to suppress the peaceful protesters with the most hideous methods of violence, using all available weapons, from tearing gas bombs to rubber bullets and even including live bullets as well.
Our concern is deepened by the obstinacy of the SCAF in response to the protestors’ legitimate demands, which can be summed up in respect for the human rights and the transfer of power to civilians. Such a response forebodes of the fall of more victims to come.
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