Glasgow Refugee Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet)

Bringing together researchers, practitioners and policy makers working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland

Unprecedented violence in Egypt: where is the responsibility to protect?

International observers witnessed unprecedented violence against those demonstrating in downtown Cairo this weekend. In the early hours of the 17th August over one thousand people were rounded up in Cairo and the rest of the county by the military. They have no representation and due process is waived. Parents have no idea where their children are being held. If killing is taking place in public what are we to assume is happening with these detainees behind closed doors?

The interim government states what is going on is an internal affair.
Statements say ‘security’ is a domestic issue. But there is a lot more to security, and the security tag does not negate other responsibilities. Civilians have certain rights to protection wherever they live and military powers of whatever color are not excluded from international regulation. Human beings have rights. There are clear lines of command operating in Egypt right now and those making the decisions and indeed those standing back and refusing to make decisions that encourage the violence will have to account for their actions.

When it comes to justice, money cannot be allowed the final say. White House statements have said nothing. If the US still wonders why it is so unpopular in the Middle East and North Africa then it should reflect on its own policies. The situation in Egypt will take years to get over. Human rights have been abused in ways that has changed the perception of Egypt completely.

We all have a responsibility to protect one another and when that responsibility is abused there are consequences. Young and old, veiled and unveiled, educated and illiterate, people have stood up and demonstrated against the Generals. Many abandoned the way they had previously led their lives, and overturned deeply ingrained attitudes to join sit-ins and demonstrations. Their courage has to be respected and above all else, their freedom has to be protected. There will be no democracy in Egypt until fundamental rights are respected.

Keith Hammond

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This entry was posted on August 19, 2013 by in Blogs and tagged , , .
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