Egypt Accused of Brutally Killing Sudan Refugees
Human rights groups call on Egypt to investigate deaths
From Advocates For The Persecuted
August 23, 2007: A growing chorus of concerned human rights advocates is pointing the world's attention to the tragic deaths of Sudanese refugees trying to cross from Egypt into Israel. According to recent reports, several hundred Sudanese refugees are trying to cross the Israel-Egypt border each week.
Amnesty International issued a statement that says refugees attempting to cross this border may be subject to “excessive force” by Egyptian authorities. Two Sudanese men were allegedly shot to death by Egyptian police on August 1, 2007 in a border-crossing attempt. Amnesty says Egypt's official sources have denied shootings took place
The Jerusalem Post reported Aug. 2, that Egyptian soldiers had killed four Sudanese refugees in plain sight of IDF troops.
“Egyptian troops who also discovered the refugees, fired upon them, immediately killing two and wounding a third. A fourth refugee ran towards the fence and an IDF soldier stretched out his hands, trying to help him cross,” reported the Jerusalem Post. An IDF soldier witnessed the Egyptians beating a wounded refugee to death said, “What happened there yesterday was a lynch. These are not men, they're animals. They killed him without even using firearms … We just heard screams of pain and the sounds of beatings. Then the screams stopped.”
Amnesty International issued a statement August 15, in which the human rights organization “called on the Egyptian government to protect the human rights of individuals intercepted at the border with Israel who include refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants, and to launch immediately a thorough, independent, and impartial investigation into the killings of at least three Sudanese refugees or asylum seekers in recent weeks, and make its findings public.”
On August 7, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Egypt's Minister of Interior expressing “profound concern” at reports of brutality against Sudanese refugees at the hands of Egyptian authorities.
“The reported brutality of these killings is all the more shocking as it comes at a time when Egypt and Israel are discussing the issue of asylum seekers crossing into Israel,” said Bill Frelick, refugee policy director for Human Rights Watch.
According to VOA News, “Some 2,800 Sudanese have entered Israel illegally over the past few years, including nearly 500 who fled Darfur. Egypt had accepted the refugees, but many of them found life in Egypt difficult. In December 2005, Egyptian riot police cleared a refugee tent camp in central Cairo, killing nearly 30 people.”