13 November 2013

Egypt: As State of Emergency Expires, Ban Stresses Respect for Freedom of Assembly

Photo: Elisa Iannacone/Think Africa Press
Protesting against the ousting of President Mohammed Mursi (file photo)

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed the importance of respecting the right to freedom of assembly as well as peaceful protest, as the state of emergency that has been in place for three months in Egypt expires.

In a statement issued last night by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban underlined that the country must commit to dialogue and non-violence. He noted the current debate regarding a draft law regulating protests, and emphasized that international human rights standards should form the basis of any new legislation.

"The Secretary-General continues to underscore the need for political inclusion, respect for human rights, including of those in detention, and the rule of law as the basis for a peaceful, democratic transition in Egypt," the statement said.

According to media reports, the draft legislation would give police the power to ban protests and require protest organizers to notify the police in advance of any meeting of more than 10 people, in public or in private.

Egypt has been undergoing a democratic transition following the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak two years ago in the wake of mass protests. This past July, renewed protests, in which dozens of people were killed and wounded, led to the Egyptian military deposing President Mohamed Morsy. The Constitution was then suspended and an interim government set up.

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