Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1259, (20 - 26 August 2015)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1259, (20 - 26 August 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Foreign reports slammed

The Foreign Ministry has rejected a Human Rights Watch report on the Rabaa sit-in and a CNN report on the security situation in Egypt, reports Doaa El-Bey

Al-Ahram Weekly

“We are involved in our development, and we are moving forward. We will not pay attention to such biased reports," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told the media one day after the publication of a report by the international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the 2013 dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in in Cairo.

“Egypt stands on guard against such attempts to tarnish its image,” Abu Zeid added.

Although it is not the first report that HRW has issued criticising Egypt, Abu Zeid said that this last report could cause damage as it comes at the same time as the anniversary of the dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in.

Commenting on the report, issued last Friday two years after the dispersal, Abu Zeid expressed Egypt’s rejection of a “politicised report” that “lacked objectivity”. He added that the report was issued by an organisation that did not have jurisdiction in Egypt and that suffered from a poor international reputation.

He described HRW’s call for an international investigation into the dispersal as “ridiculous”, especially as it came from an organisation that had turned a blind eye to the military, police, and civilian personnel that had fallen victim to terrorism in Egypt and to the officials who had been assassinated for undertaking their duty to protect the nation’s security and preserve the legitimate rights of its people. 

He said that HRW had insisted on ignoring the terrorist nature of the group it was defending, which had been proven time and again by the group's violations since the 30 June Revolution, notably in its violation of the most sacred of human rights, the right to life, in addition to the right to development, which the group has consistently undermined by targeting Egypt’s economy.

Abu Zeid concluded his comments by affirming that the government and people of Egypt had never and would never concern themselves with such “politicised reports” and “fabricated claims”.

The HRW report marked the second anniversary of the dispersal of the sit-ins in the Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda Squares in Cairo, held in support of ousted former president Mohamed Morsi.

It stated that no charges had been filed two years after the security forces had allegedly killed at least 800 protesters and called on the UN Human Rights Council to establish an international commission into the killings. It also criticised what it called "the Egyptian government’s refusal to properly investigate the killings or provide any redress for the victims."

The organisation slammed the US and European states 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," Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director of HRW, was quoted as saying.

The sit-ins were dispersed by the security forces 45 days after the ouster of Morsi.

Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights issued a report in 2014 stating that a total of 632 people had been killed during the dispersal, including eight police officers, in addition to 1,492 injured and 800 people arrested.

HRW has issued more than one report criticising the Egyptian government for not holding what it describes as a “proper investigation” into the dispersal of the sit-ins, as well as condemning the human rights situation in Egypt.

In June, it issued a report documenting what it said were human rights violations during the first year in office of president Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. The Foreign Ministry then accused the organisation of “supporting terrorism and propagating lies”.

"The report is politicised and lacks the basic tenets of accuracy and objectivity," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement at the time.

The HRW report was not the only foreign report that the Foreign Ministry strongly rejected this week. It also slammed a report by the US news channel CNN on the security situation in Egypt in the light of the beheading of the Croatian hostage held by the Islamic State-affiliated group (IS) in Egypt as “misleading, lacking basic objectivity and containing incorrect information.”  

In a statement issued on Sunday, the ministry accused CNN of painting a “grim and absurdly distorted image of chaos and rampant terrorism in Egypt” in the light of the reported murder of Croatian citizen Tomislav Salopek by IS.

Pointing to the false claim that Sinai is "lawless", or that IS operations in Egypt are the “most effective after those in Syria and Iraq,” the statement said that "the terrorist group is confined to a small portion of Northern Sinai comprising no more than five per cent of the total landmass of the peninsula and the rest of Sinai remains home to a large number of highly secure tourist sites and resorts."

The statement said that the CNN report went so far as to cast doubt on Egypt's efforts to combat terrorism, rather than providing support and constructive contributions.

It emphasised that it was not only Egypt that was facing terrorism at present, but that the world as a whole was engaged in a war against global terror. This fact alone should “prompt solidarity with Egypt rather than insidious attempts to undermine our efforts,” it said.

"No one took aim at France in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, nor did anyone claim that the US was in a state of chaos after the Boston bombings," the statement read.

It criticised the coalition that the international community has formed to counter IS for failing to adequately respond to Egypt’s repeated calls to include Libya as one of the territories in which the group operates, choosing instead exclusively to focus on combating IS in Iraq and Syria.

"It has disregarded our repeated pleas to treat all IS affiliates and variants on the same footing, thereby turning a blind eye to the scale of the threat and focusing narrowly on one of its many manifestations," it added.

The statement concluded by saying that Egypt hoped the international community would begin to realise the gravity of the terrorist threat in the region and the need for more serious concerted efforts to effectively defeat IS, while expecting the international media to play a more responsible role in this regard.

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