UN High Commissioner for Human Rights calls for an end to the violence in Egypt

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Egyptian women

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has called on all sides in the current unrest in Egypt "to refrain from resorting to violence and to resolve their differences peacefully." More than 50 people are believed to have been killed in Egypt since January 24th, when thousands of Egyptians took to the streets to commemorate the second anniversary of their revolution. Three days later, President Mohammed Morsi declared a state of emergency.

Rupert Colville, UN Human Rights Spokesperson, says a state of emergency should still be governed by rule of law.

"The bottom line under international law, even in times of emergency no one should be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life or be subject to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. And everyone deprived of their liberty must be treated humanely and afforded all the judicial guarantees under international law."

Ms. Pillay says she's received reports that during the protests the Egyptian Government has used excessive force and completely failed to protect its people, especially women. It's been reported that 25 female demonstrators have been sexually assaulted in Cairo's Tahrir square over the past few days – some of the attacks are said to have been extremely violent.

Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva.

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