New York

27 November 2013

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Egypt

The Secretary-General is seriously concerned by the detentions and violent dispersal of protesters in Egypt, including reports of sexual assault. He stresses the importance of respect for peaceful protest and freedom of assembly, and a commitment to dialogue and non-violence.

As Egyptian authorities considered legislation to regulate protests, the Secretary-General had encouraged them to make sure that any laws passed are in full conformity with international human rights standards. He reiterates the concerns expressed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that the new law that was passed could lead to serious breaches of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. Like the High Commissioner, he urges Egyptian authorities to consider amendments to the law. An atmosphere where there is free assembly and expression is a key element for Egypt to credibly hold its planned referendum on the constitution, followed by parliamentary and presidential elections.