Aswan, 31 ottobre 2011 – At the police stations in Aswan, and the military camp of Shelal, about 300 Eritrean refugees are currently being detained, in appalling hygienic conditions and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Some of them come from camps run by traffickers in Northern Sinai, where they had suffered torture, maltreatment and rape. These refugees have also witnessed atrocities, extortion, and even murders perpetrated by the traffickers against some of their brothers. Saturday morning 118 Eritreans Christian men were individually summoned by prison guards, who asked to sign documents in which they accepted voluntary repatriation. At their refusal, explaining that in Eritrea they were in some instances persecuted and incarcerated, the guards subjected them to torture and beatings, forcing them to sign. Those who signed the document are now awaiting deportation. The Habeshia Agency and other  international organizations network for the rights of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa have sent an urgent appeal to the Minister of Interior of the Republic of Egypt and Egyptian embassies to bring to justice the perpetrators of torture and beatings against the 118 Eritrean refugees and that Eritrean detainees be granted international protection, according to the Geneva Convention for refugees. Victims of human trafficking are entitled to protection under a law recently passed by Egypt. We, therefore, ask that such a law is enforced for these people, who fell  victims of traffickers first and now the military who are forcibly pushing for their return. The network of NGOs for the refugees’ rights are also sending an urgent appeal to the High Commissioner for refugees, the Commissioner for human rights, the Special Rapporteur on torture and Inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, the European Union’s Commissioner for human rights and at International Agencies that protect the rights of refugees to make use of their influence and humanitarian and legal means to bring to an end the killings, torture, beatings, illegal detentions and forced deportations against the Eritrean and the sub-Saharan refugees. Egypt has to allow access to all detention centres, police stations and military camps where they are detaining refugees to the UNHCR.

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