Egyptian state must temper excessive force, says UN watchdog

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Political unrest has been continuing over recent years in Egypt
2013 IRIN File Photo

The Egyptian authorities have been urged by the UN human rights office to end excessive force against protestors.

It follows the death of at least 20 demonstrators marking the fourth anniversary of the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak.

One of the victims was leading civil rights campaigner Shaimaa Al Sabagh, whose death was captured on film.

Daniel Johnson reports

The killing of a young protester at a peaceful protest in Egypt must not go unpunished, the UN's human rights watchdog has said.

"You've got flagrant cases like the one of Shaimaa Al Sabagh, she's pictured very clearly just holding a small poster or banner and just moments later she's dying on camera."

Rupert Colville spokesperson for the High Commissioner, at a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday. 

He said that "it should be easy to find out who is responsible" for the killing which was one of "at least 20" deaths in Cairo during recent protests commemorating the 2011 ousting of Hosni Mubarak. 

The UN spokesperson reasserted High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein's call for an end to the use of excessive force by Egyptian security personnel.

Mr Colville said that 550 civilians and law enforcement personnel had been killed in radical attacks since January 2011, which indicated a "very genuine" security situation.

But Mr Colville said it was one thing tackling terrorists in the Sinai desert and another dealing with civilian protests.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1'02"

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