UN rights chief alarmed over violence in Egypt
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UN rights chief alarmed over violence in Egypt

Navi Pillay decries 'excessive force against protesters,' says it's illegal and will likely make situation even more volatile

Egyptian protesters and a burning state security armored vehicle that demonstrators commandeered, brought to Tahrir Square and set alight, January 28 (photo credit: Mostafa El Shemy/AP)
Egyptian protesters and a burning state security armored vehicle that demonstrators commandeered, brought to Tahrir Square and set alight, January 28 (photo credit: Mostafa El Shemy/AP)

GENEVA (AP) — The UN’s top human rights official expressed alarm Tuesday at the spreading violence and rising number of deaths in Egypt, saying the government must stop using excessive force against protesters.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged President Mohammed Morsi’s government “to take urgent measures to ensure that law enforcement personnel never again use disproportionate or excessive force against protesters,” because she said it is both illegal and likely to make the situation more explosive.

“At the same time, it is unacceptable and a dereliction of duty not to intervene when protesters are being attacked by thugs and when women are being raped and sexually assaulted,” she added.

Pillay said all sides must stop using violence in the wake of thousands of Egyptians taking to the streets last week to mark the second anniversary of the revolution, and more effort must be made to prevent the scourge of sexual violence and harassment.

Nearly 60 people were killed in five days of unrest. On Sunday, Morsi called on the army to restore order and imposed a 30-day state of emergency and night curfew in Ismailia, Suez and Port Said districts for 30 days.

Pillay called for immediate investigations into the wave of violence and a thorough review of police tactics used to clamp down on demonstrations.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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