• April 23, 2008

16 Human Rights Organizations blame the regime for April 6th riots

16 Human Rights Organizations blame the regime for April 6th riots

16 human right organizations warned against the governmental orientations for utilizing the consequences of al-Mahalla”s riots after the call for peaceful strike and demonstrations in April 6th by some social and political activists on the internet in an attempt to protest against low living standards, poor human rights conditions, and rocketing prices in Egypt, and support fair demands of labors of Mahalla”s Spinning and Weaving Company that have been ignored by the government for long months. Human rights organizations worry about the government”s using of these riots to impose further restrictions on the right of peaceful strikes, rallies, and exchange of information, or to hold some political activists, trends, and movements responsible for such riots.

In their statement, human rights organizations reconfirm their condemnation of oppressive procedures against the peaceful protest forms allover the country, especially the security force that was used in Al-Mahalla to disband the demonstrators; the city has been turned into security barracks. Security forces besieged Mahalla”s company, main squares and streets.

Human rights organizations realize the importance of the security forces to support general security and defend public and private properties; however they don”t justify the collective punishment, intensive shootings with rubber bullets, tear gas, and live fire, or trailing the people along the ground practiced by the security forces leading to at least two killed and hundred injured- some of them lost eyesight due to rubber bullets- also they don”t justify the injured to be fettered to their beds in hospitals or chasing journalists and reporters of satellite channels to deny their access to the facts f what has been going on.

The human rights organizations feel sorry for destructive riots that took place in Mahalla and caused serious loses in general facilities; however they hold the government responsible for escalating and stirring up such practices.

While being very heinous and highly denounced, such events should be realized by the government as the other way out of curbing peaceful expression channels, successive failure of the government in managing the country”s crises, and the security solution used by the regime to face political discontent in Egypt that resulted in queues of poor unemployed and marginalized persons. Due to the absence of social justice and the government”s abandonment of its social responsibilities while letting the corruption, plunder, and monopoly prevail and muzzle all attempts of reform, the Egyptians are still suffering.

Seeking scapegoats for Mahalla”s events should be turned into changing policies of economic oppression, political tyranny, and social exclusion that escalated the sense of losing one”s dignity in Egypt , and reconsidering such policies that led the society to explosive conditions. April 6th events denote the intense relation between the Egyptians” awareness of their problems, sufferings, spread of poverty and corruption, lacking freedom, and loss of one”s dignity.

Therefore, the signatory organizations call the Prosecutor General to immediately release of all jailed persons and acquit them from all charges of demonstrating, going on strikes, disturbing public security, or spread of propaganda against the regime, Because all such charges are real rights of every civilian under both international covenants on civil, and political rights, and on economic, social, and cultural rights.

They also call on the Prosecutor General to conduct fair investigations regarding police dangerous violations that took place in al- Mahalla al-Kubra, speak out such investigations, punish the charged, and compensate the civilians for what they experienced.

Recently, there were many calls for considering the political reform demands and democratic change n order not to lead the country to destructive and chaotic scenarios. The government should manage the crises in anticipation instead of waiting till Egypt is utterly encompassed by risk and fire.

Signatory Organizations

1.    Egyptian Society for Community Participation Enhancement

2.    Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo)

3.    Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

4.    Egyptian Center for Kids” Rights

5.    Egyptian Center for Women”s Rights

6.    Arab Organization for Penal Reform

7.    Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

8.    Legal Help Society for Human Rights

9.    Human Rights Society for Helping Prisoners

10.  Labor and Syndicalistic Services House

11.  New Woman Foundation

12.  Earth Center for Human Rights

13.  Al-Nadeem Center for Psychological Rehabilitation and Treatment of Violence Victims

14.  Andalus Center for Tolerance and Eliminating Violence Studies

15.  Hisham Mubarak Center for Law

16.  Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies