The organization demands enforcement of the basic principles on the use of force and firearms to break up sit-ins.

August 1st, 2013 by Editor

On the 31.07.2013, the Council of Ministers issued a mandate to the Minister of Interior to deal with “Rabaa Al Adaweya” and “Nahdet Masr” protests, fearing that bloody incidents would be the outcome of forcible break- up of the sit-ins. The Council demanded that the break- up of the sit-ins should be in accordance with codified international standards.

The Cabinet asserted in a televised statement, after a board meeting yesterday afternoon and after tackling the security situation in the country, that the continuation of the dangerous situation in “Rab’a Al Adawya” and “Nahdet Masr”, with its subsequent terrorist acts and road disruptions is unacceptable, as it threatens the Egyptian national security and leads to an unaccepted intimidation to the citizens.  

In addition, based on the popular mandate to the state to deal with terrorism and violence that threatens the decay of the state and the collapse of the nation ,and  in order to preserve national security, higher interest of the country, social peace ,and the safety of  the citizens, the Cabinet decided to start taking all the necessary measures to address those risks and put an end to them, with the mandate of the Minister of Interior to take all the necessary procedures in this regard within the framework of the provisions of the Constitution and the law.

EOHR stresses the need to enforce international standards for human rights in the resolution of this sit-ins, from amongst these standard,  the basic principles on the use of force and firearms  by officials which stipulates the need to avoid the use of force, though it is not feasible to limit that to the necessary minimum requirements (Principle 13) ,also the impermissibility of the use of firearms, except in the case of the impossibility to use less dangerous means, and to limit their usage on the minimum requirements (Principle 14) . The use of firearms should be limited to self-defense cases or to prevent an imminent threat, either death or grave injury, or to prevent committing a serious crime that entails a serious threat to lives, or to arrest a person who represents a danger, and that’s when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. The deliberate use of firearms is unacceptable in all cases except in the unavoidable cases of the defense and protection of lives (Principle 9).  

For his part, Hafez Abu Saada, asserted that freedom of expression and peaceful assembly will be guaranteed to all, only if it will not compose a collective punishment to the inhabitants or to use any kind of weapons that threaten the right to life. The peaceful assembly of the protestors should be guaranteed as long as it doesn’t affect the daily life of the citizens. Moreover, Mr. Saada referred that the most appropriate method for the Ministry of interior to settle the sit-ins, is the siege of the protesters, leaving a single safe exit for the protestors without the use of lethal force, knowing that in the case of the usage of weapons against police officers, it’s legitimate, in compliance with human rights, that the police would defend themselves in the same manner.

In this context, we call on the Egyptian authorities to avoid using lethal force and to deal with the situation by means stipulated by the law, and in a manner that will preserve the right to life.

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