• May 12, 2015
  • 9 minutes read

Rights Report: Egypt Army Achievements in Sinai – Thousands Killed, Maimed, Arrested

Rights Report: Egypt Army Achievements in Sinai – Thousands Killed, Maimed, Arrested

 The independent (non-government) Egyptian Observatory for Rights and Freedoms (EORF) has issued its report on ‘Human rights violations in Egypt’s Sinai in the past six months. EORF’s special unit monitoring human rights violations in the Sinai documented crimes and atrocities by army and police forces against civilians in North Sinai during the first six months of the state of emergency imposed in the region by the military junta since October 25, 2014 (and supposedly ended April 25, 2015).

In its report titled "State of Emergency – The Harvest", EORF said military forces have continued to commit crimes against the civilian population in a relentless non-stop drive, as if the declaration of the state of emergency was a green light for the army and police to expand their atrocities and violations both geographically and in terms of number of brutal crimes committed against civilians.

EORF also affirmed that these crimes, atrocities and violations against civilians in Sinai in the first six months of the state of emergency were more than those committed in a full year since the beginning of the so-called ‘war on terror’ in North Sinai in September 2013.

For EORF’s report (in Arabic): http://www.slideshare.net/ssuserd93812/1-3991847

During those first six months, EORF documented the following crimes against civilians by the army:

Extrajudicial killings: 681 people

Arbitrary arrests: 1481

Arrests on suspicion: 2667

Bedouin huts/homes burnt down: 1740

Destruction and burning of civilians’ private possessions (movables): 1837 (566 cars and 1271 motorcycles)

Regular residential houses demolished: 2084

Displaced families: 3056

Number of persons displaced: 21,392 men, women and children

Displacement area: 1000m × 13.5km

Since the declaration of the state of emergency in the Sinai, the Egyptian army began to evacuate the border area between Palestinian Rafah and Egyptian Rafah, destroying at least 2084 homes, and forcibly evacuating nearly 3,056 families from their homes, i.e. more than 21,000 people – many of whom fled to the town of El-Arish, while others stayed with relatives.

Coup authorities went ahead with eviction plans, completely ignoring the main guarantees required by international law, including the conduct of consultation with the population, giving sufficient notice, reimbursing citizens for losses, and providing alternative housing for those who cannot provide for themselves, which makes these evictions illegal.

Plans for extending the so-called buffer zone by a further 5,000 meters have raised fears of more forced evictions in the coming months.

The report pointed that, given the numbers of victims, the state of emergency as a ‘security-oriented solution’ has complicated not resolved the crisis. Evidently, this was purely for political purposes unrelated to the preservation of national security or the problems of civilians in North Sinai. Everyone has witnessed the violence used by the army in dealing with civilians in what seemed like violently murderous acts of revenge.

The new declaration of a state of emergency, in violation of the Constitution, is yet another crime to be added to the series of crimes and atrocities committed against citizens in Sinai.

EORF stresses that the army and police continue to commit many brutal atrocities against civilians, with unlimited violations of citizens’ human rights, trampling norms prevailing in the Bedouin community over decades, all of which help terrorism spread fast in the Sinai.

These documented systematic crimes committed by army and police forces against civilians amount to war crimes. EORF calls upon the International Red Cross, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council and other international and local human rights organizations to take adequate action to stop the deliberate cover-up of violations by coup security forces in the Sinai, and to assist in documenting violations persistently committed since the June 30, 2013 events.

EORF calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately stop forced displacement and demolition of houses, search for alternative options to the security-oriented solution, endeavor to bring about real development in the Sinai Peninsula, give the people a share in the great wealth that abound in the region, seek reconciliation with the tribes and people who suffered losses and damages, reimburse families for any losses or damages, and bring the perpetrators of recent crimes and atrocities to fair and prompt trial, otherwise the Sinai will remain a source of tension, inconvenience and trouble that will threaten Egyptian national security in the long term.

For the full report (in Arabic): http://www.slideshare.net/ssuserd93812/6-47982054