The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed deep concern over developments in Egypt, noting “the seriously damaging lack of accountability for Human Rights violations by security forces”.
The High Commissioner noted that “the increasing polarisation is very alarming” , according to a Tuesday UN statement.
The statement further noted that Egyptian authorities should ensure that “excessive use of force” is not used against protesters. At least five people, including two security personnel, were killed over the weekend.
The statement referred to the presidential decree that was issued in October that expands the scope of “military trials to prosecute civilians”, as at least 16 civilians have been tried before military tribunals.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree allowing the military to protect “vital facilities” including “stations, power networks and towers, gas and oil fields, rail lines, road networks and bridges.”
The decree was condemned by several rights groups including Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) as it “broadens the jurisdiction over civilians”.
The UN further urged authorities to bring whoever was responsible for “killings of hundreds of people in February 2011 and August 2013” to justice.
Egypt’s 30 June Fact-Finding committee stated that 607 protesters were killed during Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in dispersal on 14 August 2013 following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.
Cairo Criminal Court said it was unable to rule on murder charges against former president Hosni Mubarak, in relation to the killing of demonstrators that took place during the course of the 18-day 2011 uprising. Former interior minister Habib Al-Adly and four of his aides were also cleared alongside Mubarak of presiding over the killing of protesters during the 25 January revolution.
The UN also called for the release of all those who have been detained for exercising their “legitimate right of assembly and peaceful protests”, and called on authorities to allow a national dialogue between all sides involved in the political Egyptian scene, to move the country forward in line with the human rights provisions enshrined in the Egyptian constitution.