“I am concerned by reports that lawfully elected political leaders are being detained and arrested in Egypt. I am also concerned about the reported crackdown on TV stations and journalists. I urge all parties to show restraint, respect democratic rights and refrain from all use of violence in this difficult situation,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.
It is reported that the deposed President Morsi, several of his colleagues and many of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have been detained since the army took over power in Egypt. Norway is concerned about reports that the army has closed several TV stations. There have also been several incidences of violence between various religious groups in parts of the country.
“Norway expects the arrested politicians and journalists to be released and TV and radio stations to be reopened. Freedom of speech is an essential part of democracy, and must be upheld even in times of crisis. Human rights and the right of all citizens to protection must of course be fully respected. Any attack on lawfully elected politicians, political offices or property is unacceptable. The Muslim Brotherhood is part of the Egyptian political system and must be allowed to function politically. It is in no one’s interests for differences to be deepened at this point. Everyone must act responsibly and with restraint. It is the army that is responsible for security in the country and for the protection of all Egyptian citizens,” said Mr Eide.
There have been reports of a gradual increase in sexual violence against women in Egypt. There are also reports of extensive harassment and sexual violence against women who take part in demonstrations.
“I am shocked by the increasing reports of sexual violence against women in Egypt. It is totally unacceptable for women to risk being raped for exercising their fundamental right to participate in society on an equal footing with men. The security forces are responsible for ensuring the protection of all Egyptians in the current situation,” said Mr Eide.
Norway has expressed its regret that the political process did not bring about a broadly supported solution for Egypt and that the army finally intervened, removed President Morsi from power and suspended the constitution. It is vital that a civilian government is rapidly formed and that elections are held as soon as possible so that the democratic process can get back on track.