(Washington D.C.) — Amnesty International USA’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Sanjeev Bery, issued the following comments today in response to the developing situation in Egypt:
“The move by Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to give itself unlimited power free of any oversight is a troubling development for human rights. The Egyptian military’s terrible track record on human rights gives no indication that Egyptian citizens will be guaranteed the freedoms they bravely rose up to wrest from Hosni Mubarak’s regime last year in Tahrir Square.”
“In light of the SCAF’s power grab and competing election claims, further civilian demonstrations may soon occur. The army must guarantee the rights of protestors to peacefully express their opinions and ensure human rights are not abused in the name of security. The army must end its tactics of repression and follow through on its rhetorical pledges that Egyptians will get a government that is fully accountable to them.”
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
Harvard Kennedy School Review
By Sanjeev Bery
On January 1 of this year, few would have predicted that Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak would soon be removed from office. But just three weeks later, thousands of Egyptians gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to begin the push for change. In the aftermath of Tunisia’s political shakeup, Egyptian citizens called for an end to the authoritarian regime that controlled their lives. Never before had Mubarak faced such a massive challenge. After decades of torture, corruption, and fraudulent elections, the Western world’s favorite “moderate” dictator was about to be removed from power.
Looking back, there were key underlying political conditions that made this popular revolt possible. After enduring some 25 years of dictatorship, Egyptian activists had already broken the taboo of publicly challenging Mubarak’s regime in 2004 and 2005. And with the dictator’s ailing health, the Egyptian public faced the specter of a 2011 handoff of power from the father to his son, Gamal Mubarak. Trapped between a dictator and the heavy US investments that supported his regime, the Egyptian public was ready for the Tunisian spark that inspired them to action.
Peaceful Demonstration in Front of the White House
Supporting Democracy & Human Rights in Egypt
Organized by: The Alliance of Egyptian Americans, Voices for a Democratic Egypt, Houkouk Alnas, International Quranic Center, Coptic Assembly of America, and Ibn Khaldun Center For Development Studies
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009
11 am to 4 pm
Between Madison Avenue and 15th Street