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Thursday, 29 July 2021

Egypt slams HRW call for international inquiry into Rabaa dispersal as 'ridiculous'

The New York-based watchdog issued a report on the second anniversary of the deadly Rabaa dispersal, calling for the UN to conduct an inquiry into the deaths of hundreds of protesters

Ahram Online , Saturday 15 Aug 2015
Ahmed Abu-Zeid
Ahmed Abu-Zeid, the spokesperson to the Egyptian foreign ministry (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's foreign ministry strongly condemned on Saturday a report issued by Human Rights Watch (HRW) which criticises governmental "inaction" following the violent 2013 dispersal of the Islamist Rabaa sit-in.

The ministry described the report as "politicised" and lacking in "accuracy and objectivity.”

On Friday, which marked the second anniversary of the dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Nahda Square in Cairo, HRW released a report titled: "Egypt: Establish International Inquiry Into Raba’a Massacre."

Saying that "no charges [have been filed] two years after security forces killed at least 800 protesters," the New York-based rights group called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish an international commission into the killings that took place in July 2013, given what HRW described as "the Egyptian government’s refusal to properly investigate the killings or provide any redress for the victims."

Ahmed Abu-Zeid, the spokesperson for the Egyptian foreign ministry, said that the call for the formation of an international committee to investigate the killings during the dispersal is "ridiculous."

Abu-Zeid accused HRW of turning a blind eye towards Egyptian military, police, and civilian casualties that are the result of daily terrorist attacks by Islamist militants, and also ignoring the officials that were assassinated for completing their duty of ensuring national security and preserving the legal and legitimate rights of its people."

The rights watchdog also slammed the "the US and Egypt's European allies" for "going back to business with a government that celebrates rather than investigates what may have been the worst single-day killing of protesters in modern history."

The Egyptian government has maintained that those sitting in Rabaa and Nahda were armed protesters who opened fire first at security forces on the morning of the dispersal.

The Egyptian official said that HRW, which closed their offices in Egypt in the summer of 2013, insists on neglecting "the terrorist nature of the group it defends," in reference to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Abu-Zeid explained that the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood have continued to carry out violent acts since the 30 June mass protests which led to ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins, which ended in a bloody dispersal by security forces, took place a month after the ouster of the Islamist president.

According to a 2014 investigation by the semi-governmental National Council for Human Rights, a total of 632 people had been killed during the dispersal, including eight police officers.

The dispersal also left 1,492 injured and saw 800 people arrested, according to the report.

HRW has issued more than one report criticising the Egyptian government's "lack of accountability" for the violent events. Meanwhile, Cairo has repeatedly countered by accusing HRW and other foreign rights groups of being biased towards the Islamists.

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