Sinai Torture Camps - by Stephen Lendman
Asylum seekers and refugees are abducted, tortured, and held for ransom.
A November 30 Physicians for Human Rights/Israel (PHR-I) report explains "chilling evidence" of atrocities committed against sub-Saharan African refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers.
Titled, "Hundreds of Refugees Held Hostage in Sinai Torture Camps Need Rescuing," it discusses their horrific ordeal in captivity, including torture, other physical abuse, male and female rapes, and killings.
Human traffickers mainly hold Eritreans for ransom. Relatives are pressured to pay. Tactics include phoning them to hear loved ones cry out in pain. Survivors report starvation, punching, slapping, kicking, whipping, burial in sand, electric shocks, hanging by hands or legs, branding with hot irons, as well as rape or other forms of sexual abuse.
Despite appeals for help, detention, extortion and torture continue. Hundreds remain captive.
A November 22 Amnesty International (AI) report discussed abuses committed against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, including:
- Egyptian security forces shooting unarmed individuals trying to reach Israel; deaths and injuries resulted, some serious;
- others face arrest and prosecution in military courts, as well as imprisonment for trying to emigrate;
- forcibly returning individuals to countries of origin where they risk "egregious human rights violations;" and
- others abducted, held captive, tortured, raped, or killed by human traffickers, "while authorities have done little to protect them."
Egypt is party to the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol, and the 1969 Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. They require signatories protect refugees and prevent repatriation to countries of origin or third ones where serious human rights abuses may occur.
In addition, according to a 1954 Memorandum of Understanding between Egypt and UNHCR, authorities must grant asylum-seekers access to the agency and respect its determination of refugee status. Egypt systematically violates its obligations under international law. It also delays or limits UNHCR access.
AI received "numerous reports of hostages being shot dead by their captors to demonstrate to family members of other hostages the seriousness of their threats."
This issue follows others about subjecting sub-Saharan African refugees to forced organ harvesting. Most often, victims don't survive.
Egypt is also party to international conventions relating to human trafficking. They include the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees; the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrants Workers and Members of Their Families; and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.