YEREVAN — Armenian leadership has voiced harsh criticism over violations of human rights in Egypt and ongoing suppression of democracy. Armenian Presidential spokesman Sanik Sahakyan offered the official Yerevan stance on the subject this Monday. “It is unacceptable that a member of the international community would use force against its own people in modern times. Mubarak needs to announce early elections and seek popular support through democratic means and not via uncovered oppression of its own citizens. We keep a close eye on the situation in Egypt and call on all parties for a meaningful dialog”.
As the turmoil in Egypt continues to escalate, international community backs the democratic upheaval in authoritarian Egypt. Among the countries stepping up for freedom and justice in the region, Armenia shows active support for a democratic change in the area. Armenian authorities have already condemned roll-out of military forces in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria.
“Suppressing one’s own nation with tanks and soldiers in the streets is not a way out of a political crisis,” announced Sahakyan to media, “we call on Hosni Mubarak to sit down with the opposition and other stakeholders to forge a meaningful dialog. We have stressed to our Egyptian colleagues that the solution ensuring only long-term stability and peace would be the holding of free and fair elections.”
“We have already shared with the Egyptian officials our concerns regarding the plight with human rights and freedom of speech in the area, and if we witness no political will from Mubarak to lean for democracy, we may consider a range of measures including suspension diplomatic ties,” stated the spokesman.
Earlier last week internet was shut down in Egypt to block citizens’ access to online information and communication means, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This was denounced by the Armenian foreign ministry as “undemocratic decision violating the right of freedom of information.”
The indignation spread more widely in Armenia involving diverse political and social groups. Youth wings of the Republican Party of Armenia and Prosperous Armenia Party, organized a rally in front of the Egyptian Embassy in Yerevan carrying slogans “Down with Dictator” and “Power to the People”.
Foreign Ministry of Armenia rings alarm about growing number of political prisoners in Egypt. “We have reports about students and young activists being arrested for their beliefs and voicing discontent with the Mubarak regime. This is unacceptable, if Egypt wishes to be a respected member of the international community. We call on the Egyptian authorities to exercise good reason and release all the political prisoners, otherwise Armenia may be forced to seek initiation of political sanctions against Egypt through UN,” said the ministry spokesman.
The only reaction from the Egyptian side has been a short retort from the Egyptian Ambassador to Armenia: “the government is willing to launch an ad-hoc commission to investigate the abuse by law enforcers, only after we are done with the abusing. It’s a mere technical matter. We are just not in a position to start investigation until the official atrocities are completed,” said the Ambassador.
As the open violence in Egypt continues, Armenia calls on other countries to pressure Mubarak. Sources report that official Yerevan has repeatedly urged US Department of State to be more vocal in defending democratic sentiments in Egypt.