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Egypt on democratic track

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Statement by the State Information Services in response to the allegations made in the report issued by Human Rights Watch

The Egyptian government has taken note of the report issued by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on August 12. The report presents a highly negative and biased account of the violent events that took place in Egypt during the year 2013, and totally fails to adequately report on the attacks carried out by the Brotherhood, as a terrorist organization, and its supporters.

The content of the report did not come as a surprise to the Egyptian government, given the organization's well-known biases, and the approach it has consistently pursued. Accordingly, the Egyptian government utterly rejects the report and criticizes its biased perspective, which reaffirms the organization's persistent lack of objectivity towards Egypt. The report's portrayal of events that took place in July and August 2013 reflects a lack of professionalism by the organization's experts as they relied on unidentified witnesses as well as biased and non-credible sources. The report equally demonstrates an utter lack of understanding of the reality of the specificity of the Egyptian society and its political and ideological orientations that have developed throughout the past three years.  Moreover, the organization does not enjoy any legal status that may allow it to operate in Egypt.  The organization has indeed withdrawn its request for a permit to function in Egypt according to law no.84 of 2002.  As such, conducting investigations, collecting evidence, and interviewing witnesses without any legal backing are activities that constitute a flagrant violation of the established principle of state sovereignty under international law.

The Egyptian government regrets the report's deliberate omission of any reference to the hundreds of police, military, and civilian victims who fell as a result of the then and still ongoing violent and terrorist incidents conducted by those described in the report as "peaceful protestors". These violent and terrorist incidents continue to take place through coordinated and organized attacks and bombings by the Brotherhood, as a terrorist organization, and its supporters. The report overlooks the fact that the first victim to fall during the dispersal of the sit-ins was a policeman killed by gunfire as he was guiding the protestors through the safe passages of exit designated by security forces.

Upon close scrutiny, the report reveals its clear bias and predisposition in favor of the allegations made by the so-called "Alliance in Support of Legitimacy", which is merely another façade of the Brotherhood, as a terrorist organization.

As is well-known, the Egyptian government has established a national independent fact-finding commission, headed by the renowned international Judge Dr. Fouad Abdelmoneim Riad, to investigate the violent events that took place during the dispersal of the Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins as well as all violent events that took place since June 30, 2013. The Commission was mandated to collect evidence, in order to identify any violations or abuses that took place and hold accountable those responsible. As such, the conclusions and recommendations of the HRW's report thus preempt the results of the work of the National Fact-Finding Commission, and constitute a flagrant intervention in the work of the national investigative and judicial authorities, and an attempt to impinge upon the independence and integrity of the Egyptian judiciary.

Moreover, the report ignores the evidence presented in other reports by Egyptian civil society, including the report issued by the Ibn Khaldun Center, as well as the report issued by the fact-finding commission established by the National Council for Human Rights. These reports objectively tackled the procedures undertaken by the Egyptian authorities, which clearly indicate that the dispersal of the sit-ins was conducted in accordance with the relevant international legal standards, and according to an order from the Public Prosecutor's Office. It is also worth noting that the participants of the sit-ins were provided with safe passages and means of transportation to exit the area.

The report also clearly fails to mention the fact that the dispersal came in the wake of the failure of all political and popular efforts aimed at persuading the protestors to disperse peacefully and to preserve security and public order. The dispersal also came following the escalating complaints raised by residents of the area over the protestors' usage of the sites of the sit-ins as launching points for non-peaceful marches and formation of criminal hubs, resulting in terrorizing citizens, in addition to targeting public facilities, thereby constituting breaches of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Egyptian government calls on the Human Rights Watch to adhere to accuracy and impartiality, and to maintain professionalism and neutrality in dealing with the situation in Egypt. The non-adherence by HRW to such standards casts serious doubts regarding its credibility, objectives, and work methodology. This is particularly relevant in light of the insistence of the HRW's representatives on visiting the country and issuing their report, a move that came in parallel with dubious moves by the terrorist organization and its supporters, with a view to carrying out further acts of violence and terrorism against the Egyptian State and innocent civilians.

In conclusion, the Egyptian government reaffirms its full respect for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as guaranteed by the Egyptian Constitution of 2014, and in accordance with its international obligations under international human rights law.

 

Date of publication:Tuesday, 12 August 2014