• Reports
  • February 15, 2010
  • 3 minutes read

UN: Egyptians sell organs to pay off debts

UN: Egyptians sell organs to pay off debts

 CAIRO: The United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said last Sunday that hundreds and possibly thousands of poor Egyptians are selling their organs, mainly kidneys and liver, each year to pay off their debts and buy food, making Egypt the center for the illicit organ trade, confirming what was said by the World Health Organization (WHO) in this regard.

The report highlighted by local newspapers, quoted experts as saying that the draft law for organ transplants is “controversial.” The law, which is expected to be passed by the Egyptian Parliament in the next few weeks  will regulate the transplantation of organs in an effort to curb the illegal human organs trafficking.

The UN report questioned whether this law is only for the rich, referring to the “fears” and concerns by some human rights activists of the new law, saying that “it may open the door for human trafficking in Egypt” and “turn Egypt into a global market for organ trafficking.”

The report quoted Hafez Abou Saeda, the Secretary General of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), as saying “this law is only beneficial to the rich people,” adding that “the government is shifting the poor into sources of human spare parts that could be provided for the rich in Egypt and beyond, turning it into a market enjoyed by a good stock of organs, through the provision of legal cover for the transplant.”

The report said there are no statistics on the sale of organs and transplants in Egypt because they “take place in secret,” pointing out that Abou Saeda indicates that hundreds of illegal organ transplant operations “are made each year,” which confirmed that hundreds of wealthy people, who receive the organs from donors, do not trust the skills of local doctors, accompanying their donors with them to China in order “to conduct operations there,” the report stated.

Abou Saeda added that the wealthy from Arab Gulf states also come to Egypt to buy Organs, adding that “such a law could be a great plague in a poor country like this.”

The report also pointed to the viewpoint adopted by the Regional Director of the WHO in the Middle East and North Africa, Hossein Jazayeri, who considered the ratification of the law a great step and “creates hope for thousands of patients who have been waiting a long time for an organ transplant operation in order to save their life.”

He also said it is an important step to face the trafficking of organs, which usually leads to surgeries that “take place in unsafe conditions [and] that could harm both the donor and the patient.”