UN official urges Egypt to withdraw anti-protest law

"New law on demonstrations in Egypt is seriously flawed and must be amended," UN rights official Navi Pillay says.

UN official urges Egypt to withdraw anti-protest law

World Bulletin / News Desk

UN's top human rights official called Egyptian authorities to backtrack on a new law that brings restrictions on demonstrations in the country.

The law, issued on Sunday, grants law enforcement the power to ban gatherings that would constitute "a threat to security" or "disrupt citizens' interests" without specifically detailing the conduct.

"New law on demonstrations in Egypt is seriously flawed and must be amended," said Navi Pillay, high commissioner for human rights.

"The fact that the law criminalises acts by demonstrators which may breach 'security and public order,' without clearly defining these terms, leaves the door open to a very restrictive and repressive interpretation," said Pillay.

"International law requires precision in detailing what specific conduct is prohibited by law," she said.

"There is a real risk that the lives of peaceful protestors will be put at risk because of the violent behaviour of a few, or because the law may too easily be interpreted by local security authorities in a way that permits them to use excessive force in inappropriate circumstances," the high commissioner added.

"This is a country whose people have proclaimed loudly, clearly, courageously and repeatedly their desire to be able to demonstrate peacefully in accordance with their international human rights.

"Egyptian civil society organizations and human rights defenders raised many concerns, but unfortunately these have not been taken into account," Pillay said.

"No one should be criminalised or subject to any threats or acts of violence, harassment, persecution, intimidation or reprisals for addressing human rights issues through peaceful protest. I urge the authorities to amend or repeal this seriously flawed new law."

Last Mod: 27 Kasım 2013, 11:16
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