25 December 2013

Egypt: Condemning Latest Violence, UN Chief Urges Egyptians to Find Common Ground

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the deadly terrorist attack that took place on Tuesday on the police headquarters in Mansoura, Egypt, while also voicing concern at the deteriorating human rights and political climate in the country.

The attack in Mansoura reportedly killed at least 15 people and wounded others. In a statement issued last night by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban stressed that no cause can justify such acts of terrorism and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

"The Secretary-General is also troubled by the deteriorating human rights situation and political climate," the spokesperson added, noting that under the controversial new law regulating protests, three prominent democracy and human rights activists were sentenced to three years in prison on Sunday, and Egyptian authorities last week raided a human rights organization.

"The Secretary-General views these actions, in restricting Egyptians' political space, as contrary to the spirit of Egypt's revolution nearly three years ago, when calls for freedom and democracy motivated Egyptians to take to the streets so courageously and decisively."

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.

Egyptian authorities have reiterated their commitment to holding a referendum on the proposed constitution, followed by parliamentary and presidential elections. Mr. Ban reminded Egyptian officials that freedom of assembly and expression are essential elements for credible elections.

"The Secretary-General calls on Egyptians to find common ground and renewed consensus around the country's transition. He continues to underscore the need for political inclusion and due process for those in detention," the statement added.

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