President Mohamed Morsi
c/o Embassy of the Republic of Egypt
Stauffenberger Str. 6-7
Eritrean refugees in Sinai
Dear Mr. President,
we are writing to request your urgent attention to the grave human rights situation of Eritrean refugees being held in Sinai.
It is believed that currently 1000-1200 Eritrean refugees are being forcibly held in inhumane conditions in Sinai. Children, women and men are kept shackled for months at a time, with minimal food or none; they are also tortured, The aim is to extort large sums in ransom from their relatives abroad, in exchange for their freedom.
Bedouin people-smugglers are systematically using all forms of physical and mental abuse against their captives. As well as the sexual abuse of women, methods used include pouring hot melted plastics on the victim‘s body, electric shock, branding, physical abuse (slapping, punching) and immobilisation with chains. Women and young girls and boys are also gang-raped. Some of these women have found life intolerable and have committed suicide.
Torture victims are kept barely alive until their families overseas pay the ransom demanded, which can be as much as 100,000 US dollars. When family members cannot meet such high ransom payments, the victims are exposed to further torture; finally their organs are harvested and sold to illegal organ traffickers.
The process of human trafficking is facilitated by Eritrean and Sudanese officials.
A report issued on July 18th, 2011 by the UN Security Council‘s Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea confirmed the name of a high ranking official in the Eritrean government General Teklai Kifle “Manjus” as one of those involved in human trafficking:
According to the report, People smuggling is so pervasive that it could not be possible without the complicity of Government and party officials, especially military officers working in the western border zone, which is headed by General Teklai Kifle “Manjus”. Multiple sources have described to the Monitoring Group how Eritrean officials collaborate with ethnic Rashaida smugglers to move their human cargo through the Sudan into Egypt and beyond.
We call upon the Egyptian government to defend and protect these vulnerable groups of Eritrean refugees and respecting their basic human rights;
- to work towards the immediate cessation of all human rights violations perpetuated against the Eritrean people and refugees in Egypt
- to bring to justice the people traffickers and those who have committed atrocities and crimes against humanity.
- to stop the forced deportation of Eritrean refugees. Since returning those refugees to their country is not an option, we encourage the government of Egypt to help resettle them voluntarily in a third country.
- to free Eritrean refugees from prison in Egypt according to international principles of human rights, providing access to legal representation and family visits.
- to provide security, protection and recognized legal status under the Geneva Convention for refugees, including providing travel documents to enable them to travel for medical treatment, education, family reunion & religious purposes.
The Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change respectfully asks you to consider these requests and to inform us of your conclusions.
Tzeggai Yohannes Deres
Chairman, Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change
102 Willingdon Road
London SW9 9NE