Egypt must find peaceful, democratic means to resolve current crisis – UN spokesperson

Egyptians protesting in Cairo in January 2011. Photo: Ramy Raoof

1 July 2013 – It is crucial that Egyptians find a way to resolve differences peacefully and through democratic means, a spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed today, voicing particular concern at reports of deaths, injuries and sexual assault against women protesters in recent days.

“Though it would seem the vast majority of those taking part in protests have done so peacefully to this point, the reports of a number of deaths and injuries, of sexual assault against women demonstrators, as well as acts of destruction of property are to be strongly condemned,” said a note issued by the spokesperson's office.

Egypt has been undergoing a democratic transition following the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak two years ago in the wake of mass protests similar to those seen in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa as part of the “Arab Spring.”

Protests have been taking place in various cities in recent days, with protesters reportedly calling for the resignation of President Mohamed Morsy. According to media reports, Egypt's army said today that the country's rival parties have 48 hours to resolve the political crisis.

Last week, Mr. Ban stressed the right of the people to demonstrate peacefully and called on all parties in the country “to respect this right and to uphold the law.”

“We repeat the Secretary-General's call for all parties to uphold the law, while respecting the right to demonstrate peacefully,” his spokesperson said today. “We note that this right, in particular, must be extended to female demonstrators, given the concerns over the high number of reports of sexual assault.”

It is crucial at this time that Egyptians find the way to resolve differences through democratic means, the spokesperson said, adding that peaceful dialogue and non-violence are the keys to restoring stability and moving Egypt's transition forward.

“The world is watching Egypt, and what Egypt does with its transition will have a significant impact on other transition countries in the region. A stable and secure Egypt is crucial for regional stability and security.”

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Egypt: amid mounting tensions, Ban encourages peaceful dialogue, non-violence

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