UN Blamed for Cairo Massacre
Update: (Friday AM) Freedom for Egyptians sends word of a protest in Washington DC on the Sudanese refugee slaughter and includes pictures.
Egypt put the blame squarely on the UNHCR for the deaths of 27 Sudanese on December 30, 2005 when thousands of Egyptian police stormed a park they were squatting at across from the UN Cairo Office.
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Adel Imam, left, and UNHCR spokeswoman Astrid Van Genderen Stort speak at a press conference in Cairo, Egypt Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006, on the subject of the Sudanese migrants and refugees who were brutally dispersed from a Cairo square by Egyptian riot police on Friday, Dec. 30, 2005. (AP Photo/Nasser Nouri)
Egyptian authorities say they have in writing demands by the UN to intervene and end the Sudanese protest outside its offices:
Egypt said that the UNHCR applied enormous pressure on the government to end to a protest by Sudanese refugees and asylum-seekers, as rights groups protested a plan to deport hundreds of Sudanese.
The Egyptian foreign ministry’s comments came as both the government and the UNHCR deflected responsibility after security forces forcibly broke up the three-month protest outside the agency’s offices in Cairo, leaving some 28 Sudanese dead and hundreds injured.
“Throughout the three months… the Egyptian authorities faced continued pressure from the regional office of the UNHCR,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.
It added that the agency “demanded in writing and verbally the need for the authorities to intervene and end the protest and held (Egypt) responsible for any possible harm on its staff and offices.”
The UNHCR further threatened to suspend its activities in Cairo should the authorities fail to deal with the situation, it said.
Egyptian blogger Nora Younis was at the park during the tragedy. Her first hand experience of the bloodbath is different than that of the UN representative.
Egyptian riot police arrest Sudanese families in a Cairo public square December 30, 2005. A young Sudanese girl of about four died along with 26 others when Egyptian police fought with thousands of Sudanese demanding to be allowed to start new lives abroad. Reuters witnesses at the scene said there were about six unconscious Sudanese, some of them young children, lying on the ground after police used force to clear some 3,500 people who had camped in squalid conditions for over two months. (REUTERS/Victoria Hazou)
UNHCR goodwill ambassador and Egyptian actor Adel Imam, who was also at the news conference, said he regretted the deaths of the protesters, but accused them using their children as human shields, attacking policemen and abusing Egyptian law.
“There were talks between the police and the protesters for five hours, but the protesters refused to budge. They put their children in front of them as human shields,” Imam said.
International rights group Human Rights Watch said the high loss of life suggested the Egyptian police acted with “extreme brutality” and called for an independent investigation.