The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights issues a report on Balloon and Tahrir incidents

July 6th, 2011 by Editor

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), on July 6, 2011, issues a report prepared by its fact finding mission on   Balloon and Tahrir incidents. The mission went to the incidents’ areas to have the complete vision about what happened and also to collect many points if views on the clashes. The incidents resulted 1400 injured people, among them there were 70 policemen. 50 people were arrested and referred to the military prosecution office in charge of Vandalism and riots.

EOHR received many complaints following the incidents including the police violent practices against civilians. The police troops used expired Tear bombs against the civilians. These chemicals immediately cause intense irritation of the eyes, causing crying or in some cases temporary blindness, irritation of the mucous membranes of the nose, trachea, or lungs, causing coughing, irritation of the throat and stomach, with the induction of vomiting and possibly diarrhea and irritation of the skin. The incidents open the door to have further severe conflicts between people and police instead of reaching reconsolidation. The civil society organization denounced referring civil protesters to the military courts.

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, the head of EOHR, stated that the recent incidents drawn attention to using force against civilian protesters that increases the distance between people and police. The police troops used tear gases against civilian protesters, although 80 countries voted to include tear gas bombs among chemical weapons banned under the Geneva Protocol. The freedom of assembly and the freedom of speech are rights guaranteed universally among signatories to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Egypt is one of them, making the use of tear gas against civilians illegal and in violation of both the Geneva Convention protocol and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The bombs used by the Egyptian police are expired. The effect of the use of expired bombs can cause committing, poisoning, extreme fatigue and high temperature. If a bomb is 6 months to a year past the expiry date, its contents oxidize and cause dangerous effects on human beings and the environment more than the original effect. Egypt is one of five countries that did not sign the chemical weapon ban covenant (Angola, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Egypt). So, Egypt does not suffer any restrictions or punishments for using CS gas but it could come under restricts for signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Abu Seada also denounces the random arrest of civilians after the incidents and calls for the immediate release of all the peaceful protesters. Referring civilians to the military courts also does not comply with the principals of fair trial.

The report calls for fair trial for the civilians instead of referring them to the military courts and immediate release of Tahrir and Balloon protesters and taking the perpetrators to accountability. The report calls for restructuring the police authority and launching training workshops for the police officers on the best methods for handling peaceful protests. The freedoms should be guaranteed according to the constitution and the international human rights’ covenants. The Egyptian Ministry of Interior should provide the police troops with the required instructions on dealing with protesters in peaceful ways. The ministry should open immediate investigation on the violations made by the police troops and referring perpetrators to trial.



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