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Egypt: UN Rights Office to Assess Violent Situation

Egypt: Fresh Violence Prompts Appeal from UN Rights Office to Assess Situation

New York, Aug 20 2013 - The United Nations today called on Egyptian authorities to allow access to human rights officers to assess the situation on the ground in light of the new wave of violence in the country.

“We are reiterating our call to the Egyptian authorities to allow us to deploy human rights officers from the OHCHR so that we can assess the situation on the ground,” a spokesperson for the of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Elizabeth Throssell told reporters in Geneva.

“Everyone deprived of their liberty must be treated humanely and afforded all judicial guarantees under international law.

OHCHR said it remains alarmed at the ongoing violence, and condemned the ambush in the Sinai in which at least 25 police officers were killed when two mini-buses were ambushed. It also voiced deep concern over reports of 36 prisoners who were killed while in police custody on Sunday night, as well as reports of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members and some of its leaders being detained.

These incidents need to be fully investigated, Ms. Throssell said, adding that human rights officers could be dispatched to gather evidence as part on an independent investigation.

During the same briefing, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP) Elisabeth Byrs said the agency was concerned about the rise of poverty and food insecurity among the most vulnerable communities in Egypt due to the continued political uncertainties and a worsening economic situation over the last few months.

WFP has continued food deliveries throughout July and August with minor delays, she said, adding that distribution of food vouchers for Syrian refugees went ahead in July and was now being planned for August.

Altogether, WFP has reached 95 per cent of the targeted beneficiaries in July, assisting 35,000 Syrian refugees with food vouchers in greater Cairo, Damietta and Alexandria despite the ongoing political unrest.

Ms. Byrs said WFP plans to reach 50,000 Syrian refugees this month, including in some additional and poorer neighbourhoods.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

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