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Egypt

    November 13, 2013

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    For months, Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have been sounding the alarm bell about the erosion of women’s human rights in Egypt. The issue received media coverage in June and July of this year when a large number of women were attacked while protesting in Tahrir Square, but otherwise media and public attention to this issue has been scant.

    October 17, 2013

    • Egypt unlawfully detains hundreds of Syrian and Palestinian refugees
    • Children as young as one in detention for weeks
    • Hundreds forcibly deported to countries in the region, including Syria
    • Families separated by forced deportations     

    The Egyptian authorities must end their appalling policy of unlawfully detaining and forcibly returning hundreds of refugees who have fled the armed conflict in Syria, said Amnesty International.

    Following the deaths in recent weeks of refugees and asylum-seekers crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa, a short report published by Amnesty International today, ‘We cannot live here any more’: Refugees from Syria in Egypt, throws a spotlight on the tragic consequences of Egypt’s hardline stance towards refugees from Syria. More and more refugees are risking their lives to make the treacherous journey by sea to Europe – often paying smugglers up to US $3,500 each to make the trip.

    October 14, 2013

    Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, health officials and wounded protesters  suggests security forces used live ammunition to disperse crowds of mostly peaceful demonstrators on 6 October, said Amnesty International.

    At least 49 people were killed and hundreds injured in Cairo alone, as security forces used excessive and unwarranted lethal force to disperse pro-Morsi protesters. According to eyewitnesses, in some instances, security forces stood by as men in civilian clothing armed with knives, swords or firearms attacked and clashed with demonstrators.

    “The Egyptian security forces patently failed to prevent the loss of life. In a number of cases bystanders or non-violent protesters were caught up in the violence,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. 

    October 11, 2013

    Today’s shipwreck off the coast of Alexandria that drowned at least 12 people, many believed to be refugees from Syria, highlights the crushing life-and-death decisions facing many who fled to Egypt to escape Syria’s armed conflict, Amnesty International said.

    The organization is due to launch a briefing next week on the plight of refugees from Syria in Egypt, and currently has a delegation on the ground researching the situation.

    “Our research has shown how the backdrop to today’s terrible boat accident is a much wider tragedy. Refugees from Syria are compelled to risk life and limb yet again in Egypt after facing arbitrary arrests, detentions and increased hostility,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Amnesty International's Head of Refugee and Migrants' Rights.

    October 09, 2013

    A detailed report into the attacks targeting Coptic Christian communities in August reveals the extent of the failure of the security services to protect the minority group, said Amnesty International.

    The new report published today examines events during the unprecedented wave of sectarian attacks in the wake of the dispersal of two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo on 14 August.

    It details how security forces failed to prevent angry mobs attacks on Christian churches, schools and charity buildings, setting them ablaze and razing some to the ground. At least four people were killed.

    “It is deeply disturbing that the Christian community across Egypt was singled out for revenge attacks over the events in Cairo by some supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “In light of previous attacks, particularly since Morsi’s outsing on 3 July, a backlash against Coptic Christians should have been anticipated, yet security forces failed to prevent attacks or intervene to put an end to the violence.”

    October 07, 2013

    Dr. Tarek Loubani & filmmaker John Greyson have been released from prison in Egypt.

    Thank you to the tens of thousands of Amnesty Interantional supporters who spoke up for their freedom!

    Amnesty International welcomes their safe return to Canada, following an intense period of campaigning backed by Amnesty International members in Canada and around the world.

    Following their release from prison, Tarek and John were temporarily unable to leave Egypt, in spite of no charges having been made, and in the absence of any court order that restricted their freedom to travel. Amnesty International will continue to urge Egyptian authorities to follow international human rights law in the treatment of all Egyptians detained during protests in Egypt.

     

    Their story: Tarek Loubani and John Greyson's detainment in Egypt

    Tarek and John were detained in August on charges of “violence”, “inciting violence” and “carrying weapons”, as well as “destroying public property”. They had been held alongside hundreds of Egyptians who were arrested during violence in Cairo on August 16th, 2013.

    October 04, 2013

    36 refugees from Syria, many of Palestinian origin, have been deported to Syria today, according to information received by Amnesty International.  

    “Egypt must immediately halt all detention and deportation of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria. Amnesty International urges the Egyptian authorities to respect international law by not sending refugees back to a bloody conflict in which ,more than 100,000 have already been killed,” Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    Amnesty International has been told that the group was arrested in September while they were trying to get to Europe by boat from Egypt. They were taken to the Rashid police station, in the Beheira governorate, where they were detained for 13 days.

    Local Egyptian activists told Amnesty International that late last night the refugees were forced to sign a document saying they are willing to go back to Syria. They were then taken by bus to Cairo airport and returned by plane.

    September 27, 2013

    An Egyptian journalist facing an unfair military trial over his coverage of events in Sinai must be immediately and unconditionally released, said Amnesty International ahead of a hearing in his case on Sunday.

    The organization believes that Ahmed Abu Deraa, 38, an award-winning journalist, and father of two, is being prosecuted for challenging the army’s version of its operations in the restive North Sinai region.

    “The authorities’ decision to try a journalist and a civilian in a military court is a serious blow to press freedom and human rights in Egypt,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Egyptian military trials are notoriously unfair and in any event, trying civilians in military courts flouts international standards.”

    September 12, 2013

    Scores of detainees arrested following the dispersal of two large pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo last month have been deprived of their basic legal rights, Amnesty International said.  

    The organization has documented several cases of protesters who were denied prompt access to their lawyers and relatives, or an opportunity to challenge the lawfulness of their detention after their arrest.

    “The failure of the Egyptian authorities to respect due process for people who have been arrested is a worrying sign. Everyone must be equal before the law. It is unacceptable for supporters of Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood to be singled out for unfair treatment based on their political affiliations,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.  

    “All of those detained by the authorities must immediately be given access to their lawyers and families.”

    Security forces have arrested at least 3,000 people, mostly supporters or members of the Muslim Brotherhood, since 3 July, according to lawyers representing them. Around 600 have since been released.

    August 23, 2013

    The killing of at least 1,089 people over the past weekunderscores the urgent need for Egypt’s security forces to comply with international standards on the use of force and firearms, Amnesty International said.

    In the bloodiest incident since the dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-ins last week, 97 were killed in Cairo on 16 August when protests by supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi culminating around Ramsis Square quickly plunged into violence. A child as young as seven and a number of teenagers were among those killed or wounded.

    “Security forces failed to take control of the situation or respond to violence used against them in a measured and responsible way to minimize loss of life. Many bystanders also lost their lives,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa for Amnesty International.

    August 20, 2013

    All governments must suspend the transfer of weapons of the type used by Egypt’s security forces in violent dispersals and unwarranted lethal force against sit-ins and other protests, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization has analyzed some of the transfers to Egypt in recent years – including tens of thousands of conventional weapons worth tens of millions of dollars. Among the countries supplying weapons and ammunition of the type used during the bloodshed on 14 August are the Czech Republic, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the USA.

    The sales include military firearms, shotguns, riot control launchers and corresponding ammunition and projectiles, as well as armoured vehicles and military helicopters.

    “Weapons and equipment supplied irresponsibly to Egypt by a handful of countries are being used for excessive force and unlawful killings,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    August 20, 2013

    There has been an unprecedented rise in sectarian violence across Egypt targeting Coptic Christians and the Egyptian authorities must take immediate steps to ensure their safety, Amnesty International said.

    Coptic Christians have been targeted – seemingly in retaliation for their support of the ousting of Mohamed Morsi – since the violent dispersals of pro-Morsi sit-ins in Greater Cairo on 14 August. Several Coptic Christians were killed, while their churches, businesses, and homes have been under attack.

    “It is a shocking dereliction of duty that security forces failed to prevent these sectarian attacks and protect Coptic Christians. The backlash against Coptic Christians should have been anticipated following the dramatic rise in similar incidents since Mohamed Morsi was ousted,” said Hassiba Hadja Sahraoui, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    “Attacks against Coptic Christians must be investigated and those responsible brought to justice.”

    August 19, 2013

    There must be a full, impartial and effective investigation into the shocking loss of life that has taken place in Egypt over the last week, with full accountability for whoever committed or ordered the unwarranted lethal crackdown, said Amnesty International’s leaders from across the globe as they came together in Berlin today.


    The interim government has already stained its human rights record – first by breaking its promises to use non-lethal weapons to disperse pro-Morsi sit-ins and allow for the safe exit of wounded and then by justifying their actions despite the tragic loss of lives.

    Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “The interim government has already stained its human rights record – first by breaking its promises to use non-lethal weapons to disperse pro-Morsi sit-ins and allow for the safe exit of wounded and then by justifying their actions despite the tragic loss of lives,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    August 16, 2013

    There must be a full and impartial investigation into the violent dispersal of sit-in protests in Cairo this week, where security forces used unwarranted lethal force and broke promises to allow the wounded to exit safely, Amnesty International said today on the basis of its research on the ground.


    Based on the initial testimonies and other evidence we’ve gathered, there seems to be little doubt the security forces have been acting with blatant disregard for human life, and full investigations that are both impartial and independent are urgently needed.

    Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International

    Unprecedented levels of violence have left more than 600 dead around Egypt. The Ministry of Interior reported 43 fatal casualties among security forces. The death toll is expected to climb further as bodies are transferred to official hospitals and morgues.

    August 14, 2013

    Security forces must take urgent steps to avoid further bloodshed as a pro-Morsi sit-in is dispersed in Cairo today, said Amnesty International. The organization is working on the ground to verify any abuses that may have been carried out.

    “Promises by the authorities to use lethal methods only as a last resort to disperse protesters appear to have been broken. All too often in the past the Egyptian security forces have used excessive force against demonstrators with catastrophic consequences,” said Philip Luther, Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    “Security forces have a duty to prevent further loss of life. This must be an immediate priority.”

    Access to the main hospital in the area near the sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya is also reported to be restricted.

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