The undersigned organizations strongly condemn the use of excessive force by state army and security forces against individuals exercising their right to peacefully protest the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
We emphasize that security forces and the army are responsible for protecting all protesters, including both supporters and opponents of the deposed president. However, instead, a serious escalation in human rights violations – such as extrajudicial killings; arbitrary arrests; excessive use of force; and deprivation of freedoms of association, speech and expression – has been documented, targeting those who oppose the military’s ouster of President Morsi. The Egyptian authorities have not only perpetrated such acts, but also turned a blind eye to their practice by others.
We condemn the Egyptian army’s excessive and unjustifiable use of lethal force to disperse supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi who were staging a sit-in in front of the premises of the Republican Guard. This violence killed at least 51 demonstrators and injured more than 400, according to official statements from the Ministry of Health. In addition, a wave of arbitrary detentions victimized political opponents without due process and other protections offered under the law. The undersigned organizations demand that an independent investigation be conducted to identify those responsible for this abuse of power, especially members of the state and its security forces, and bring them to justice. Negligence in the investigation of these serious violations is a crime against the rule of law.
In an official statement, the Armed Forces justified its use of lethal force as necessary to prevent demonstrators from storming the premises of the Republican Guard. However, the undersigned organizations insist that responses to demonstrations must comply with international standards, even when some participants err by resorting to violence, including the use of firearms. International standards forbid the excessive use of lethal force, and do not justify the intentional murder of protesters by police or military snipers. The use of force must not exceed what is required to prevent the use of violence. Firing live ammunition at crowds is intolerable and should be considered a criminal act.
The undersigned organizations call upon the Egyptian government that is administering the country in this transitional period to:
-Initiate a fair and independent investigation into the above-mentioned massacre, including the participation of independent human rights organizations, and the immediate release of the findings to the public. The policy of impunity must come to an end.
-Preserve human rights and other public freedoms dictated by Egypt’s international obligations; protect all demonstrators, regardless of their backgrounds and affiliations; and halt arbitrary arrests of journalists, activists and political opponents.
-Remove the Armed Forces from the political process; failing in doing so will harm the democratic transition in Egypt and will violate the constitution approved by the nation’s citizens in a national referendum.
-Specify the length of this transition period in Egyptian governance or commit to a date for the next presidential elections.
-End the campaigns of hatred and incitement practiced by various parties in Egypt. All forms of incitement to violence and murder must cease and all parties must refrain from undermining the civic peace. The continued incitement to bloodshed makes it impossible to re-launch a comprehensive political process that can fulfill the revolution’s ultimate goals of inclusion, peace and economic prosperity.
The undersigned organizations call for a constructive dialogue and national reconciliation among the warring parties. The protection of civic and human rights must be at the core of the project to establish the modern, independent, civil state desired by the people and demanded in the revolution of January 25
- Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights, Geneva
- Rights for All, Geneva
- Hijra International Organization, Switzerland
- Alkarama Foundation, Geneva
- Friends of Humanity International, Vienna
- Justice Center, Sweden
- Liberté and Equité, Tunisia
- March For Justice , USA
- United States Commission on Civil Rights, USCCR
- Sawasya Centre for Human Rights
- Alshehab Centre for Human Rights
- The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, IHH.