Egypt summons European envoys over human rights statement

Ahram Online , Thursday 13 Mar 2014

European ambassadors in Cairo are summoned by Egypt's foreign affairs ministry over a joint statement presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) over recent human rights abuses

Hatem Seif El-Nasr
Egypt's Foreign Minister's aid for European affairs Ambassador Hatem Seif El-Nasr (Photo: Ministry of foreign Affairs website)

Egypt's foreign affairs ministry has summoned the envoys of European countries that sent a joint statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday condemning Egypt's recent crackdown on demonstrators and political dissent.

The statement, whose signatories included the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Turkey, the US and 21 other European countries, voiced concern about human rights violations in Egypt including "restrictions on the rights to peaceful assembly, expression and association, and about the disproportionate use of lethal force by security forces against demonstrators."

Hatem Seif El-Nasr, Egypt's assistant foreign minister for European affairs, said that the summoned ambassadors will be presented with a strongly worded objection for signing the statement, which he said contained many errors and ignored the progress Egypt has made in its democratic transition, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported on Thursday.

The ambassadors will also be warned that bilateral relations between their respective countries and Egypt will be damaged if they do not take action to "correct" their political stance, tantamount to what he claimed was international interference in Egypt's internal affairs.  

El-Nasr said that many Egyptians are beginning to have doubts about the political stance of European countries with regards to Egypt and that such countries should have instead lent their support for Egypt's transitional roadmap.

He added that Egypt has democratic mechanisms to safeguard human rights and basic freedoms.

Similar concerns were raised by European countries during the EU Foreign Affairs Council in February, to which Egypt objected.

The EU publicly recognised Egypt's transitional government after the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, which drew criticism from the Muslim Brotherhood, who accused the EU of supporting a coup.

Last week's joint statement to the UNHRC also condemned the recent spate of terrorist attacks against Egypt's army and police.


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