The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Tuesday urged [press release] Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi [official BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to "heed the lessons of the past" and listen to the demands of the Egyptian public. Protests and demonstrations erupted throughout Egypt on Sunday, in which protesters called for the resignation of Morsi for his alleged failure to address economic and security issues in the last year. OHCHR Spokesperson Rupert Colville urged all political parties and social groups to reach a solution amidst the political unrest to ensure the safety of the Egyptian people. Colville said,
We urge the Egyptian government to continue to make every effort to protect the rights of citizens to engage in peaceful protests and demonstrations. We regret the deaths that have occurred in Egypt since Sunday, and stress that any perpetrators of attacks against peaceful demonstrators, who are found to have used excessive force, should be held accountable.The Egyptian army on Monday gave Morsi and the country's government a deadline of Wednesday to appease protesters before it would intervene and implement its own road map to solving this issues. Morsi responded [Reuters report] by stating that he would continue with his own plans, despite the army's warning.
Egypt has faced political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began over two years ago. In February, thirteen Egyptian human rights organizations alleged [JURIST report] that Egypt's Ministry of Interior is responsible for police brutality and the deaths of protestors. Earlier that month OHCHR criticized [JURIST report] Egypt's draft law on demonstrations for failure to adequately protect freedom of assembly. The draft law requires that organizers inform authorities about protest plans in advance and allows the interior ministry the right to reject demonstrations. The OHCHR also voiced concern [JURIST report] in January over the growing violence and rising death toll in Egypt stemming from ongoing protest throughout the country.