Friday, February 04, 2011

EGYPT: Global civil society condemns abuses, calls for democratic reform and elections

A Joint Statement by a global civil society actors, including the Asian Legal Resource Centre, 1 February, 2011

We, civil society organizations from across the world, strongly urge all governments, as well as regional and international organizations, to clearly and unequivocally denounce the ongoing violent crackdown against the public protests and demands for democratic reform and government accountability that have been occurring across Egypt since the 25th of January.

The Egyptian government has responded to protests with excessive force. This has included wide-spread use of beatings, arbitrary detentions and the use of rubber bullets and allegedly live ammunition against unarmed civilians, resulting in over a hundred deaths. Moreover, a state imposed black-out on national cell phone services, the internet and independent media channels was put in place on the 28th of January, making it very difficult for Egyptians to report any abuses occurring. On that same day the Egyptian government began to deploy military forces in supplement of internal security forces.
With the strong risk that repression, violence and instability in Egypt could escalate to unprecedented levels in the coming days, it is critical that individual governments from all regions of the world urgently exert strong and concerted pressure on the Egyptian government to curb human rights abuses.

We call on the United Nations, its Member States and regional bodies to condemn the serious and widespread human rights violations carried out by the Egyptian authorities against civilians throughout the country. The international community must remind the Egyptian government of its international human rights obligations, urge it to fully respect the rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of movement and freedom of expression, and support the demands of the Egyptian people for the holding of free and fair elections and the ending of the decades long State of Emergency law which has been used to enforce authoritarian rule.

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