By Jonathan Moremi
Human Rights Watch Tuesday released a disturbing report about the ongoing human trafficking and torture in eastern Sudan and Egypt, urging authorities of both countries to finally take effective steps to stop the atrocities. The 79-page report “’I Wanted to Lie Down and Die’: Trafficking and Torture of Eritreans in Sudan and Egypt” documents how for years Egyptian traffickers have tortured Eritreans for ransom in the Sinai Peninsula, including through rape, burning and mutilation. It also documents torture by traffickers in eastern Sudan and 29 incidents in which victims told Human Rights Watch that Sudanese and Egyptian security officers facilitated trafficker abuses rather than arresting them and rescuing their victims. Human Rights Watch speaks of thousands of Eritreans who have been kidnapped and subjected to unbearable violence in the Sinai Peninsula, and the organisation has received new reports as recently as November 2013 and January 2014.
“Egyptian officials have for years denied the horrific abuse of refugees going on under their noses in Sinai,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher for Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “Both Egypt and Sudan need to put an end to torture and extortion of Eritreans on their territory, and to prosecute traffickers and any security officials colluding with them.”
For the report Human Rights Watch interviewed 37 Eritrean victims and drew on hundreds of interviews conducted by nongovernmental organisations in and outside of Egypt as well as on statements by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) relating to its interviews of hundreds more.
The victims have given harrowing accounts of the torture inflicted by Egyptian traffickers to extort up to $40,000 from their relatives. All of the witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they saw or experienced abuse by the traffickers, including rapes of both women and men; electric shocks; burning victims’ genitalia and other body parts with hot irons, boiling water, molten plastic, rubber, and cigarettes; beating them with metal rods or sticks; hanging victims from ceilings; threatening them with death; and depriving them of sleep for long periods. Seventeen of the victims said they saw others die of the torture. Their relatives, who heard the victims scream through mobile phones, collected and wired vast sums of money to the traffickers to try and secure the release.
|Scooped by Egypt-actus|
By Jonathan Moremi