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August 07, 2013

U.S. Urged to Affirm Opposition to Violent Crackdowns in Egypt

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today expressed concern that intensive diplomatic efforts to produce a solution to Egypt’s immediate human rights crisis appear to have failed.  According to reports, Egyptian President Adli Mansour’s office said that the efforts of the United States, European and other governments had failed to broker an agreement between the new Egyptian government and supporters of the deposed, elected former President Mohammed Morsi.

Many Morsi supporters have gathered at two mass sit-ins in Cairo and the Egyptian government has announced it plans to clear the protestors in the near future. The absence of an agreement raises the specter of large-scale violence in Cairo. This week, during their trip to Cairo, U.S.  Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) warned of the possibility of  “all-out bloodshed” in the coming days or weeks.

“The U.S. government must not delay in making its position public and clear and it should support civil society leaders such as the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “The only way for real stability in Egypt is through non-violence from all sides of the political conflict and respect for democratic freedoms, including for the right to peaceful assembly. The United States must call on the Egyptian authorities to commit to this path and, as they do, to renounce violence.”

Dooley concluded, “Egypt is on the brink of large scale violence and needs to pull back before it is too late. The U.S. government should use every possible lever of influence to persuade the Egyptian government not to unleash repression that would risk a declining spiral of violence. Secretary Kerry’s recent unfortunate remark that the Egyptian military is restoring democracy should not be read as a license by the government to intensify its assault on peaceful opponents.”

For more information or to speak with Dooley, please contact Corinne Duffy at duffyc@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.