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27 UN members urge Egypt to stop harassing dissidents - Daily News Egypt

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27 UN members urge Egypt to stop harassing dissidents

In a joint declaration, countries call for greater accountability, press freedom and “full civilian control over all branches of government”

A Muslim Brotherhood supporter aims fireworks towards supporters of the Egyptian government during clashes in Cairo on January 25, 2014. Deadly clashes erupted in Egypt Saturday as rival demonstrations were held on the anniversary of the 2011 revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak, underscoring the country's violent polarisation three years after the Arab Spring.  (AFP PHOTO/AHMED TARANH)
A protester aims fireworks towards supporters of the Egyptian government during clashes in Cairo on January 25, 2014. 

By Jake Lippincott

Twenty-seven nations on the United Nations Human Rights Council released a joint declaration on Friday expressing “concern about the escalating violence” in Egypt.

The nations, which include Denmark, the United States, Japan, Turkey and several other European countries, said the outcome of the Egyptian transition is  “not only important to the Egyptian people but also to the region and the international community”.

While being careful to “strongly condemn the reprehensible terrorist attacks” perpetrated by insurgent groups, the report concentrated on repression and human rights abuses committed by the interim government.

The declaration comes on the heels of a United States State Department report also calling for increased respect for human rights and political freedom within Egypt.

According to the statement, the 27 nations are concern about “the restrictions on the rights to peaceful assembly” and security forces’ “disproportionate use of lethal force” against demonstrators, leading to thousands of injuries and deaths.

“Security forces have a duty to respect the right to peaceful assembly…. even when faced with persistent security challenges,” the countries stated.

The report also addresses mounting concerns about press freedom and restrictions on civil society, urging “the Egyptian government to end ongoing harassment and threats against those who express dissent and release those arrested for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, of expression and of association.”

After the 25 January Revolution there is still a need for “accountability” on the part of authorities, according to the report. To this aim, the report calls for the “creation of a national Fact Finding Commission…. to carry out prompt, independent and impartial investigations into the killings of protesters and security forces during violent events since 30 June 2013.”

Furthermore, the 27 nations called for the Egyptian authorities to “make public the results of the two previous national fact-finding commissions,” which were formed in 2011 and 2012.

While offering cautious praise for the new Egyptian constitution for “enshrine(ing) human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the report urged that “existing and future legislation should be in line with international obligations and commitments and implemented in a way that ensures full civilian control over all branches of government.”

The nations offered assistance to the Egyptian authorities.

“A prosperous and stable Egypt can only be secured based on an inclusive political dialogue and a democratic solution,” they said.

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