The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Abou Zaid, condemned on Monday the statements by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, on Egypt’s security and human rights situation.
Abou Zaid said in a statement by the ministry that releasing such statements is “shameful”, “especially during the time when Egypt is fighting radicalisation,” adding that the UN Human Rights Council was not in a state of assembly, questioning the reasons behind the timing of the statements.
Earlier on Monday, al-Hussein said in a press conference in Geneva that the crackdown on freedoms is “in our opinion, not the way to fight terror.”
“We don’t see similar stances from the High Commissioner [for human rights] when law enforcement in Egypt is attacked and terrorised by terrorist groups,” Abou Zaid added.
Abou Zaid also explained that the state of emergency was approved in accordance with the constitution by the elected parliament, in an exceptional situation as terror is striking the country.
High Commissioner al-Hussein further criticised Egypt’s state of emergency, adding that “the massive numbers of detentions, reports of torture, and continued arbitrary arrests—all of this we believe facilitates radicalisation in prisons.”
“National security, yes, must be a priority for every country, but again not at the expense of human rights,” al-Hussein said. In the same context, he also condemned the attacks on the churches.
The state of emergency was approved by parliament on 10 April in the wake of attacks on two churches on Palm Sunday. According to the parliament’s official website, the approval allows the army and police to take the measures needed to fight terrorism and protect citizens and institutions.
After the approval, state institutions and buildings started to be secured by army forces, while reportedly a wave of arrests and apartment raids took place in Downtown Cairo and elsewhere.