By Fatma Khaled
Human Rights groups suggested solutions to deal with the sit-ins set up in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, in a meeting with Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of interior, on Saturday night.
“Inviting all rights organizations to briefly evaluate the current situation and find a way to limit the escalating death toll was a positive initiative from the ministry,” according to Hafez Abo Saada, head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) and one of those who met Ibrahim.
Abo Saada said Ibrahim and the groups agreed that a “quick intervention” will only increase casualties and urged the protection of residents.
The meeting parties also stressed the importance of the presence of media outlets and rights groups during the process of dispersing the sit-ins to report any police violations.
Naguib Gabriel head of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights (EUHR) emphasised in the meeting that security should comply with peaceful international standards regarding dispersal of sit-ins.
“The groups and Ibrahim agreed that all sit-ins across the country should be dispersed, in addition to Rabaa and Al-Nahda squares,” Gabriel said.
Gabriel added that a peaceful plan of dispersing sit-ins should apply in an escalating chronological sequence, starting with besieging the field, and later using water hoses and tear gas if needed.
Abo Saada added that in case a political solution can be achieved, the government and National Defence Council will assign the Ministry of Interior the task of dispersing the sit-ins amid guarantees that neither party would be harmed.
Other suggestions from rights groups included dialogue with all factions to reach a compromise, Gabriel said. “The rights groups excluded the use of force as a solution,” he added.
Abo Saada and Gabriel stressed that the current role for rights organisations is to monitor the behaviour of both security and protesters, to report any violation witnessed and to be present during the dispersal process.
Minister of Information Doria Sharaf El-Din announced on behalf of the cabinet that the Rabaa and Al-Nahda sit-ins are a threat to national security in a press conference on Wednesday. Sharaf El-Din added that the cabinet delegated the Minister of Interior to take all measures to face violence and “terrorism” and to disperse the sit-ins.