UPDATE 2-UN rights chief urges calm during Egypt protests

Tue Feb 1, 2011 3:15pm GMT

* Citesj unconfirmed reports of up to 300 people killed

* Lays blame for unrest on Mubarak government

(Adds details on toll, comments by int'l jurists group ICJ)

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, Feb 1 (Reuters) - The United Nations' human rights chief said up to 300 people may have been killed in Egypt's unrest and called for calm during Tuesday's protests in Cairo.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged Egyptian authorities to ensure the police and army avoid any excessive use of force and work to protect civilians.

The former U.N. war crimes judge placed blame for the unprecedented protests squarely on the government of President Hosni Mubarak, saying it had committed serious abuses including widespread use of torture while maintaining an emergency law since 1981 despite the absence of major strife.

"Casualties have been mounting on a daily basis, with unconfirmed reports suggesting as many as 300 people may have been killed so far, more than 3,000 injured and hundreds arrested," Pillay said in a statement.

Her spokesman Rupert Colville said the unconfirmed toll came from its network of non-governmental organisations in Egypt.   Continued...

Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.