By Aurora Ellis
Minister of Interior Mohammed Ibrahim met with civil society and human rights activists on Monday to discuss human rights issues and to urge civil society groups to support the ministry’s campaign against terrorism.
During the meeting the minister stressed the police’s commitment to human rights and said the police only use force when necessary and in accordance with the law, a statement on the meeting read.
According to the statement, the Ministry of Interior appealed to human rights organisatons to support the ministry’s initiatives, saying the current situation “requires everyone to support the security apparatus in its battle against terrorism.”
This statement from the ministry comes just weeks after the violent dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in in Cairo and the Al-Nahda sit-in in Giza, where hundreds of people died in confrontations with the police.
The statement contrasts sharply with the flurry of criticism the ministry has recently received from international and Egyptian human rights groups.
Last week, international human rights group Human Rights Watch described the dispersal of the sit-ins as the “worst mass unlawful killings in the country’s modern history” and accused the security forces of “excessive and “unjustified” force against protesters.
Moreover, earlier this month, a coalition of prominent Egyptian civil society groups with the Cairo Institute for Human Rights stated that the violence and terrorist acts of some participants does not justify the “collective punishment” and “excessive force” used against all protesters in the sit-ins.
Over the past several years human rights groups have documented the shooting of protesters with live ammunition and birdshot by the Central Security Forces, including during the uprising of January 2011, the November 2011 Mohamed Mahmoud protests and the January Port Said clashes.