The United Nations on Tuesday warned that Egypt must rein in its security forces and look into human rights abuses against protesters, calling the political tension in the country “alarming”.
The UN rights office said that it was deeply concerned by “the seriously damaging lack of accountability for human rights violations committed by security forces in the context of demonstrations”.
Spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville said at least five people, including two security personnel, were reported to have been killed in clashes during protests this past weekend.
“The authorities must ensure that security forces do not resort to the excessive use of force”.
“Prompt, thorough and independent investigations” need to be carried out “into all human rights violations committed in the context of protests”, Corville said.
He urged protesters to operate peacefully, saying “the increasing polarization in Egyptian society is very alarming”.
Additionally, the UN rights office criticized last week’s conviction of almost 80 students for vandalism and illegal demonstrations protesting in favor of former President Mohammed Morsi.
“We urge the government to immediately release all those who have been detained for legitimate exercise of their rights to peaceful assembly and to freedom of association and expression”, Colville added.
He also alluded to a court ruling on Saturday dropping charges of murder on ex-President Hosni Mubarak.
“We are closely following attempts to bring to justice those responsible for serious human rights violations in Egypt, including the killings of hundreds of people in February 2011. We urge the authorities to ensure that all those who are responsible for human rights violations, up to the highest levels, face justice in line with international standards of fair trial and due process”, he said.
Colville also mentioned the Egyptian government’s crackdown on Morsi backers in August 2013, in which over hundreds were killed, stressing that “victims and their loved ones have the right to justice and accountability and to reparations and compensation”.
“Egyptian authorities have the duty to ensure that perpetrators of serious human rights violations do not enjoy impunity”, he added.