Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ethiopian Refugees face the danger of death in the Egyptian prisons

Ethiopian Refugees face the danger of death in the Egyptian prisons

The Africans refugees that have been held in Central Security Camp in Al Shalal in Aswan in Egypt, have been seized for more than two and half years without any legal or moral justification and under terrible and inhumane conditions, in addition to their deteriorating inhumane mental and physical conditions.

Every time I receive a phone call from one of them, I hear nothing except crying and screaming of their children wondering and asking " Why do you treat us in such inhumane way. We are Africans like you. Isn't Egypt the leader of Africans.?! Do not we drink from the same Nile?! Unfortunately I have no response to them except that I will do my best and I will contact the officials to resolve this problem and speed up the process. But who would care, who would really sympathy with their situation. It seems that the hearts of the officials became so hard like a stone and the cruelty and selfishness have been sneaked to the hearts , all what they say:, " We have enough problems, we do not need to add more." Nevertheless, there are some peace lovers who help those people from their own needs. (If you want to have mercy from God, have mercy whom on Earth and the One above will have mercy on you.)

The tragedy began, when a huge number of Africans escaped from the affected areas in continental l of Africa like Ethiopia, Eretria & Somalia to Egypt due the hell of the civil & tribal wars, in addition to the economic crises and famine that they were suffering from. Often those people would pay the price of fighting for power and domination. Small numbers entered Egypt in February 2008 from Sudan-Egypt border as Sudan forcibly removed them by placing them in huge trucks in the middle of the night to bring them back to their countries, due that action they immediately fled to Egypt leaving everything behind them, even though they had refugees status from the High Commission of Refugees and they were getting benefits, they refused to go back to their country as they are afraid that they would get executed or arrested and torture in camps, or to go back to poverty and wars. The majority of them were in the army and the rest were working as provincial governor, pilot, doctor, journalist, interior designer, a priest and students in public & American universities.
The flow of numbers continued, until reached approx. 1750 refugees. 70% from them from Eretria, 25% from Ethiopia and 5% from Somalia. 58% from them are men and from youth, 30% from them are women (including pregnant women) & girls, 12% are children (from infancy to 3-6 years old). 75 % of these refugees are Christian Orthodox, 20% are Muslims 5% of different religions.
Due to the large influx large numbers , the police departments forced & packed them in places, where they place around fifty refugees in 5 x 3 meters rooms, and some of them had to sleep in the bathrooms with no sufficient ventilation; only small openings that do not exceed 30 X 30 cm, no ceiling fans. You could imagine what would be the heat in Upper Egypt during the summer & to live in such tiny room with so many people and with such high temperature.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry, under the instructions of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, deported forcibly nearly 1600 refugees from Hurghada, Burj Al Arab, Aswan and Qena, without considering the threat which they will face; the execution. This is against Article III, concerning Declaration on Territorial Asylum Convention for the Protection of Refugees agreement according to Paragraph 1 states that it is not allowed to prevent any person, that was appointed in the Paragraph 1, Artical 1,to enter the any borders or if the person entered the region/territory seeking asylum, the country has no right force him/her to go back to any country that he/she could face persecution.
Refugees have called me from Hurghada and asked me to bring a Sheikh from mosque immediately in order to read them, the prayer of the dead on them because they will be executed upon their return. According to the last phone call with them, they stated that their hands had been tied behind their back & they were deported without any of their belonging such as money & phones. I have not heard from them since they were forcibly deported on May 2008 till now. God have mercy on their souls.
But The rest were found in the Central Security camps Al Shalal in Aswan they are 135 refugees (101 men & young men - 28 women and young women - 7 children from 3:10 years). They are Eritrean and Ethiopian. The majority,105 refugees, have been deported after so many trials to Canada,the rest to America and the remaining 30 refugees. Twenty two of them asked to return to their country rather than being imprisoned in Egypt for infinity.

The remaining of the refugees which is the subject of the report, who are still suffering until today from arbitrary detention without any justification, although in April 2008 the sentence of judiciary was one month with suspension. They have already protested with no food for 5 days due the duration of the detention and the cruelty, neglect of their physical health & cruelty.
And the names of the detained refugees in Aswan as follows: - (Sorry for the difficulty of writing and pronunciation of Amharic names)

1 - Husband - Skhalay Gebre Schly 41 years old Ethiopian Christian Orthodox (Department of Mahmudiyah)
2 - Wife - Zewdie Tula Waldth 35 years old Ethiopian Christian Orthodox (Camp Al Shalal)
3 - Child - Fard Skhalay Gebry 10 years, Male , Ethiopian Christian Orthodox (Camp Al Shalal)
4 - Child - Oombac Skhalay Gebrey 7 years , Male ,Ethiopian Christian Orthodox (Camp Al Shalal)
5 - Child - Thamsgenen Skhalay Gebry , 5 years, Male , Ethiopian Christian Orthodox(Camp Al Shalal)
6 - Siggsty , Female ,Ethiopian Christian Orthodox(Camp Al Shalal)
7 – Sabh , Male , Ethiopian Christian Orthodox (Department of Mahmudiyah)
8 - Abdel Kader , Male , Ethiopian Muslim (Department of Mahmudiyah)

They are in need of medical attention mentally & physically as they were highly infected with skin diseases, chest diseases and bed ulcers of the long period of detention, in addition that they have no clothes to change. They are in bad need for milk, soap, and the fans to cool down the hot weatherof Aswan.
And unfortunately the Security Directorate of Aswan did not allow us to visit them to fulfill their humanitarian & psychological needs and to provide them with clothing, underwear and cleanliness accessories. like what used to be done with the refugees previously with ex-security director of Aswan, despite the difficulty of dealing with him. Unfortunately the existing security director is rested by banning us from their visits after many telephone calls. We have sent so three official correspondence after he requested from us to do so, but he did not respond at all up to this moment, which is a proof of misusing his power and against to the Protocol of the Status of Refugees which emphasise the importance of the coordination between the private organization whom are interested in helping the refugees.
Although the international agreements that is signed by Republic of Egypt declared that all the detained refugees are under the subject of the Law of the Protection of Refugees, Article 31 of the Refugees Affairs dated 28.07.1951 and the Protocol the Convention that was amended & signed in New York on 31/1/1967, leads to the issuance of two Presidential Decree No. 331 & 333 on 1980. This was approved on 22.05.1981, even if they entered illegally as a result of wars and famines.

Safwat Saman

Chairman Nations with out Borders to human development, human rights and refugees.
Medhat Eweeda
Board member Nations with out Borders to human development, human rights and refugees.

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