One year after bloody August 2013; healing needed

Sent On: 
Sun, 2014-08-17
Newsletter Number: 




AWR, Cairo, August 17, 2014



Egypt has gone through a tremendous turmoil since President Morsi placed himself over the rulings of the Supreme Constitutional Court in November 2012, resulting in massive anger and demonstrations on June 30, 2013, and Minister of Defense Abdelfattah al-Sisi deposing president Morsi and installing an interim government. Muslim Brothers and other Islamists resisted the removal of what they believed to be a coup d’état. They organized sit-ins that were forcibly removed one year ago, which resulted in bloody clashes, the death of around 1000 people and the destruction of tens of churches around the country.


Human Rights Watch in the U.S., with Egyptian and Western staff, investigated the violence and published a report concluding that the violent dispersal of the sit-ins at the Raba’a al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares are likely “crimes against humanity,” warranting a UN investigation.



Cover of HRW report. Source: Human Rights Watch


Egyptian authorities responded with an official statement denouncing the work of Human Rights Watch.


It is certainly possible to critique the report of Human Rights Watch since they hardly gave attention to the rapidly increasing tensions during Morsi’s presidency. They have also given insufficient attention to the very targeted attacks on police and army personnel, and with this their report has become partial.


Their report appears to be one-sided but not least because in particular the Egyptian Ministry of Interior has not been very forthcoming with information. That is not the culture of the Ministry of Interior, but it would definitely greatly help Egypt find a way towards reconciliation if there was more transparency and explanation of events. It would greatly help if the report of Egypt’s national independent fact-finding commission, headed by Judge Dr. Fouad Abdelmoneim Riad, would be made public once ready.


For the full comment on the Human Rights Watch Report, please click here.




Cornelis Hulsman

Editor-in-chief Arab-West Report