Estimated 300 deaths in Egypt unrest -- UN

1st February 2011, Comments 0 comments

As many as 300 people may have died in anti-government unrest in Egypt and the role of the security forces in the violence must be investigated, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Tuesday.

"Casualties have been mounting on a daily basis, with unconfirmed reports suggesting as many as 300 people may have been killed so far, more than 3,000 injured and hundreds arrested," Pillay said in a statement released in Geneva.

Security and medical sources in Egypt said on Monday at least 102 people had been killed in the massive wave of unrest sweeping the country.

Pillay said she was "deeply alarmed" by a sharp rise in casualties and urged authorities to listen to the demands of the Egyptian people for reforms, human rights and democracy.

She said protesters calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak had for the most part been peaceful and called for an investigation into the violence which turned bloody over the past several days.

"I urge the Egyptian authorities to ensure police and other security forces scrupulously avoid excessive use of force, and there needs to be a full investigation into the role of security forces in the violence that occurred over the past few days," she said.

"The authorities have a clear responsibility to protect civilians, including their right to life, and to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression."

She said the Mubarak government's past record of repression was a trigger for the unrest with the people rejecting a system that deprived them of fundamental rights, and has committed a "range of serious abuses, including widespread acts of torture."

She said that as the protests peaked on Tuesday with a million people predicted to take to the streets, both demonstrators and security forces should avoid violence.

"I urge both the army and the police to act with the utmost care and restraint," she said. "I also urge the protesters to avoid any acts of violence that might tarnish their extraordinary achievements so far."

© 2011 AFP

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