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article imageUN experts decry Egypt 'reprisals'

By AFP     Dec 4, 2018 in World

A United Nations rights expert voiced alarm Tuesday over Egypt's clampdown on people she met with during a recent visit, saying their homes were demolished while others were forcibly evicted or arrested.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, Leilani Farha, said she was "shocked" at the treatment of communities she visited during a recent official visit to Egypt.

"Egypt has failed to adhere to the assurances provided to me that no person would be harassed, intimidated or subjected to reprisal for meeting or providing information to me or my delegation," she said.

Following her mission from September 24 to October 3, she said "a number of families from two communities I visited have suffered forced evictions contrary to international human rights law."

"Several multi-storey houses have been demolished, furniture was thrown into the street, and residents have been made homeless," she said.

"Among those targeted were several houses and apartments belonging to family members of community leaders with whom I met," she added.

The UN's top expert on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, meanwhile said he had received reports from activists and lawyers working on housing rights that they had been "followed and photographed by persons unknown to them."

Some also reported receiving anonymous and threatening phone calls, while others said they had been summoned by police for interrogation.

"Unless Egypt ensures that human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations can interact with UN human rights envoys without fear of reprisal, it is in our view not ready to host further visits," the experts said.

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