Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) report on the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in dispersal received mixed reactions from political parties and activists. The report, titled “All According to Plan: The Rabaa Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt” was issued on Tuesday blaming state institutions for the high number of deaths during the dispersal, arguing that the incident was a “crime against humanity”.
Former member of parliament and current President of the Egyptian Lives Party Mohamed Abu Hamed criticised the report on his official account saying the human rights watchdog is a wing of the international organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood. Abu Hamed demanded the quasi-governmental National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) to respond to the accusations of the report.
Ahmed Al-Boraei, vice president of the Al-Dostour Party, said that the report was biased and did not present the full picture, as many residents from the areas surrounding the sit-ins were subjected to violence and faced threats. He added that the report neglected the violence from the side of the Brotherhood, as in the Bayn Al-Sarayat district, where 17 people died.
“Unlike what the report claims, security forces gave many warnings and called upon the protesters to evacuate the square. Also, the first casualty to take place was from the police,” Al-Boraei said.
Al-Tagammu Party attorney Alaa Essam said that the report is alerting and illogical, arguing that it “gives the impression that Egypt is living an oppressive and violent period, while the opposite is true. The country is now witnessing a period of freedom and peace.”
Essam added that the report missed the point that the Rabaa sit-in included armed protesters and previously convicted criminals. “Many of the sit-in administrators were convicted terrorists acquitted under former president Morsi. Plus, the sit-in included many underprivileged people who were directed by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
HRW, Essam said, neglects violations committed against Christians in Iraq and to Palestinians. However, the organisation is “aiming to pressure and embarrass President Al-Sisi, who has been recently undergoing a campaign to end political and economical dependency and to support the underprivileged classes.”
Such organisations are known for both focusing only on government mistakes to incite chaos in third world countries, and for following agendas of foreign intelligence agencies, Essam added.
Secretary General of Egyptian Organization for Human Rights Reda Marouf said that the controversial report contradicts all other reports issued by official and independent human rights organisations. “The dispersal occurred while putting the international standards of human rights into consideration,” he said. “Intervening in Egypt’s affairs is unacceptable.”
However, Hoda Abdel Monem, media spokesperson of the Egyptian Women Revolutionary Alliance, an Anti-Coup Alliance affiliated group, said that the results of the HRW report are appreciated even though they came late. “The report, written by professional researchers, will act as a powerful tool to document the killings that happened in the sit-ins by the coup leaders. Besides the report is a critical document that allows the trial of all who participated in the violent crackdown.”
Another Anti-Coup Alliance affiliated group, the Egyptian Revolutionary Council mentioned in a Wednesday statement that the HRW report carries a lot of evidence which “confirms the massacre [in Rabaa Square] that aimed to murder of thousands of innocent civilians”.
On Tuesday Egypt’s State Information Services described HRW as “full of negativity and bias in how it handled the violent events that Egypt experienced over 2013″. The statement also added that the report ignored all the “the terrorist operations that the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organisation and its supporters committed”. Earlier this week Egyptian authorities denied entry to top HRW directors, who were heading to Cairo to present the report.