World

US, others criticize Egypt over human rights abuses at UN meeting

  • In this Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 image released by the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, delivers a speech during an Air Force exercise as part of Badr 2014 Strategic Maneuver, in the Nile Delta province of al-Sharqia, Egypt. President Sissi attended the Air Force exercises Monday, which the government said involved more than 250 combat fighters and helicopters. The Badr 2014 Strategic Maneuver is a 17-day-long military exercise conducted by the Egyptian army and air force. The government says the maneuvers are designed to repel "hostile forces." (AP Photo/Mohammed Abdel Moatey, Egyptian Presidency)

    In this Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 image released by the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, delivers a speech during an Air Force exercise as part of Badr 2014 Strategic Maneuver, in the Nile Delta province of al-Sharqia, Egypt. President Sissi attended the Air Force exercises Monday, which the government said involved more than 250 combat fighters and helicopters. The Badr 2014 Strategic Maneuver is a 17-day-long military exercise conducted by the Egyptian army and air force. The government says the maneuvers are designed to repel "hostile forces." (AP Photo/Mohammed Abdel Moatey, Egyptian Presidency)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, June 28, 2013 file photo, a supporter of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi holds spent bullet casings during clashes with opposition protesters near Cairo University in Giza, Egypt. The United States and other countries on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014 slammed the human rights situation in Egypt at a United Nations meeting reviewing the country's record for the first time since the 2011 ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, June 28, 2013 file photo, a supporter of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi holds spent bullet casings during clashes with opposition protesters near Cairo University in Giza, Egypt. The United States and other countries on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014 slammed the human rights situation in Egypt at a United Nations meeting reviewing the country's record for the first time since the 2011 ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 file photo, a member of the Egyptian security forces kicks a supporter of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi as they clear a sit-in camp set up near Cairo University in Cairo's Giza district, Egypt. The United States and other countries on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014 slammed the human rights situation in Egypt at a United Nations meeting reviewing the country's record for the first time since the 2011 ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. (AP Photo/Hussein Tallal, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 file photo, a member of the Egyptian security forces kicks a supporter of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi as they clear a sit-in camp set up near Cairo University in Cairo's Giza district, Egypt. The United States and other countries on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014 slammed the human rights situation in Egypt at a United Nations meeting reviewing the country's record for the first time since the 2011 ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. (AP Photo/Hussein Tallal, File)  (The Associated Press)

The United States has sharply criticized Egypt's human rights record at the start of a United Nations meeting reviewing the country's performance for the first time since the 2011 ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper told the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday that Washington was deeply concerned about Egypt's crackdown on free speech, lack of fair trial and the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.

Harper's comments echoed those of other countries, including Britain, Sweden, Turkey and Uruguay.

They followed a bullish defense by Egypt's minister for transitional justice, Ibrahim el-Heneidy, who said his country's new constitution was "a true victory for human rights and freedoms" and that the government was committed to upholding the international treaties it had signed.