UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Dec. 19 condemned the brutal crackdown on protesters by military and security forces in Cairo. Since Friday the 16th, the suppression of demonstrations has led to 11 deaths and more than 500 injuries. This is the second time since November that Pillay has condemned the use of excessive violence in Egypt. In November she issued a statement denouncing the deaths of 30 protesters at the hands of security and military forces. She expressed particularly strong concern over what seems to be a deliberate targeting of peaceful women protesters.
The graphic images of protesters, including women, being brutally clubbed and assaulted, long after the point when they are showing any resistance, are utterly shocking. People lying motionless on the ground are shown on film being smashed on the head and body with sticks. These are life-threatening and inhuman acts that cannot possibly be justified under the guise of restoration of security or crowd control.
Pillay called for an independent and impartial investigation into the violence, citing that whoever has perpetrated these attacks must be brought to justice, no matter their rank or power. She also called for the release of all of the prisoners who have been jailed for exercising their rights. Pillay also had a message for protesters, urging them to continue to preserve the peaceful nature of their protests.
From Jurist, Dec. 20. Used with permission.