Geneva - Cairo

A number of international non-governmental organizations have called on Ms. Navanethem Pillay UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to set up a fact-finding mission into the events unfolding in Egypt since July 3, 2013.

Egypt has witnessed the killing and injuring of hundreds during attacks by security forces on pro-Morsi sit-ins throughout the country. The most recent lethal attack occurred on Saturday 27 July 2013, leading to the death of at least 100 people

In a letter addressed to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the undersigned human rights 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. Accordingly, the undersigned human rights organizations urgently demanded a fair and independent investigation into the mass killing and human rights violations committed by the Egyptian Armed Forces.

The undersigned organizations pointed out that the reports, issued by their field working groups throughout Egypt, have documented "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, and targeting those who oppose the military’s ouster of President Morsi”. The letter also noted that the Egyptian Authorities have not only perpetrated such acts, but also turned a blind eye to their practice by others.

For her part, Sandra Owen, Research Officer at the Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights, has called on Commissioner Pillay to pressure the Egyptian Authorities administering the country and the Egyptian Armed Forces to bear their obligations under International Human Rights Law, primarily the protection of peaceful demonstrators and their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Owen also stressed the need to prevent further polarization and incitement in the streets through the media and to release all political detainees, including President Mohamed Morsi and his advisors. She called on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to intervene immediately to pressure the Egyptian Authorities to refrain from using excessive lethal force to disperse demonstrators.

The international human rights organizations include the Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights (Switzerland), Rights for All ( Switzerland), Friends of Humanity International (Austria), Justice Center (Sweden), Liberté and Equité (Tunisia), March For Justice (United States of America), Sawasya Center for Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination (Egypt), the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) (Turkey), Gulf Network for Rights and Freedom (GNRF) (Switzerland), European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC) (United Kingdom).