UN right chief wants investigation into Egypt killings

Pillay says state violence excessive, citizens right to be angry; adds actions of military, security forces have inflamed situation.

By REUTERS
November 23, 2011 15:29
1 minute read.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Navi Pillay 311 R. (photo credit: Christian Hartmann / Reuters)

 
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GENEVA - UN human rights chief Navi Pillay called on Wednesday for an independent investigation into violence in Egypt and said she deplored the killing of protesters by military and security forces, which was inflaming the situation.

"I urge the Egyptian authorities to end the clearly excessive use of force against protesters in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in the country, including the apparent improper use of teargas, rubber bullets and live ammunition," Pillay said in a statement.

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She added that "the actions of the military and security forces, instead of improving security and helping Egypt's difficult transition to democracy, have once again simply served to inflame the situation".

"There should be a prompt, impartial and independent investigation, and accountability for those found responsible for the abuses that have taken place should be ensured."

Egyptians overthrew President Hosni Mubarak on February 11 and many had hoped for a smooth transition to democracy, only to be dismayed at the military's apparent reluctance to step aside after taking control over the country during the interregnum.

Egypt starts a parliamentary election on Monday but, under a complicated electoral system, the upper and lower houses will only be in place next March, when they will pick an assembly to draw up a new constitution.



The slow pace of change, which is seen as suiting the ruling generals and Islamist parties, has sparked the protests in which - by a Reuters count - 37 people have died.

Pillay noted media reports of unarmed protesters being shot in the head and many others being arbitrarily rounded up, and called on the authorities to ensure a peaceful environment in the lead-up to next week's elections.

"Instead, we are seeing another outbreak of violence by the state against its increasingly and legitimately angry citizens."    

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