Twenty-seven member states of the United Nations (UN) [official website] released [text] a joint statement expressing concern about the escalating violence in Egypt. The statement stresses the UN's concern for Egypt's restrictions on the freedom to peaceably assembly, expression and association. The declaration states that the lethal force by security officials against demonstrators is highly disproportionate and disregards Egypt's international human rights obligations. The UN member states also urged Egypt to end ongoing harassment and threats against dissenting journalists [JURIST report] in the country. The joint declaration does praise Egypt's new constitution, but calls for the government to enforce the constitution's democratic principals, especially guaranteeing citizens due process and a fair trial. The UN countries also believe that Egypt's government should increase transparency.
Egypt has dealt with political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began in 2011. On Tuesday an Egyptian court ruled [JURIST report] that the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas [JURIST news archive] is a terrorist organization and banned all activities by the group within the country. In February the Cairo Criminal Court convicted 26 people [JURIST report] of forming a terrorist group with the intent to attack the Suez Canal. Two days earlier, Egypt's Prosecutor General referred [JURIST report] 504 members of the Muslim Brotherhood for a mass trial for their alleged crimes in the Day of Rage conflict. Earlier in February deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi appeared in court, but his trial was adjourned [JURIST report] after the judge refused to remove the soundproof glass enclosure that Morsi was seated in. In January Egypt's Interim President Adly Mansour announced [JURIST report] that Egypt will hold presidential elections before conducting parliamentary elections.