By Nourhan Dakroury
The spokesperson of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released a statement on Friday calling on security forces to protect demonstrators and prevent violence.
The statement expressed the secretary general’s concern over the clashes that erupted between protesters across Egypt and the numerous reports about sexual assault.
The statement read: “The Secretary General believes strongly that this is a critical juncture in which it is imperative for Egyptians to work together to chart a peaceful return to civilian control, constitutional order and democratic governance.”
The statement also said that Ki-moon is calling on Egyptians to exercise their right to protest in a peaceful way, adding that he “remains confident that the Egyptian people will be able to successfully address the challenges that Egypt currently faces.”
“The way forward should be determined by the people of Egypt themselves, in a manner that respects the full diversity of Egyptian political views,” the statement read, stressing that no political group or community should be excluded from setting Egypt’s future.
Meanwhile, Freedom House called for the suspension of US aid to Egypt, calling former President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster a “military coup.”
The report, released on Friday, explained that the US Foreign Assistance Act does not issue any aid to “any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup d’etat” or a coup “supported by the military,” adding that aid can be resumed after a democratically elected government is appointed.
President of Freedom House David Kramer said in the statement: “Morsi was duly elected, but he ruled undemocratically, usurping extraordinary powers in his hands and ramming through a new constitution,” adding that “there were no institutional checks against his power grabs.”
Kramer went on to say, “No one likes to see any military remove a duly elected president from power.”
He added: “The Egyptian military’s record does not bode well for democracy, and the initial steps of Egypt’s interim government don’t inspire confidence.”
Amnesty International also issued a report on Friday condemning attacks and violence on pro-Morsi protesters, drawing attention to a series of arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
According to the report, live ammunition was used on pro-Morsi protesters in Rabaa Al Adaweya Square in Nasr City, killing one demonstrator on 3 July, the day Morsi was ousted.
“We fear that the violence of the last few days could spiral into a new wave of human rights abuses,” Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said.
She criticised the crackdown on Morsi supporters, saying that it is sending the wrong signal.
“The army and security forces must immediately stop using live ammunition against people posing no threat to life,” she added.
“If human rights and the rule of law are to prevail in Egypt, the army must now ensure that these abuses are not repeated,” Sahraoui said.