Confrontational approach in Egypt leading to disaster: Pillay

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Egyptians protest in Cairo in July 2013. Photo: UN News Centre

"Egypt stands at a crossroads. The future of this great country that gave so much to civilization, depends on how its citizens and authorities act over the following days and months," High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has warned.

Citing the latest uncompromising announcement from the Ministry of Interior, the human rights chief cautioned that the confrontational approach by both sides "is leading to disaster."

The human rights chief added her voice to the widespread condemnation of two days of violence in Egypt that led to the killing of more than 80 people, and the wounding of hundreds more. She called for a credible, independent and prompt investigation into large-scale killings, in which the security forces appear to be heavily implicated.

Pillay said "Despite all the warnings, all the calls for restraint, more than 150 Egyptians have died during protests over the past month, not just in Cairo but in other cities as well," adding "I fear for the future of Egypt if the military and other security forces, as well as some demonstrators, continue to take such a confrontational and aggressive approach". She said "Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have the right to protest peacefully like anyone else".

The human rights chief urged "all parties to set aside their grievances and engage in urgent national dialogue with the aim of restoring constitutional order through free and democratic elections and to end the violence and all hate speech".

She said "It is time to think of the future of Egypt and all its inhabitants, not of the narrower interests and ambitions of any particular group or institution."

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’25″

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