Amnesty International slams Egypt's violent crackdown on Sudanese refugees protest

Amnesty International slams Egypt's violent crackdown on Sudanese refugees protest
Amnesty International called on Egypt to investigate the treatment of the Sudanese protesters by security forces, including alleged beatings.
3 min read
05 November, 2020
Egyptian security forces dispersed two peaceful protests held by Sudanese refugees [Getty]
Amnesty International called on the Egyptian authorities on Wednesday to release the Sudanese migrants and refugees detained for protesting the killing of a Sudanese child in Cairo last week. 

The rights group also called on Egypt to investigate the treatment of the protesters by security forces, including alleged beating.

Dozens of Sudanese migrants and refugees gathered on 29 October after news reached them of the chilling killing of 12-year-old Mohamed Hasan. 

Protesters gathered in front of Masaken Othman, where the child lived, as well as the UNHCR office in 6th October City, in the western Greater Cairo region that is home to a large number of refugees and migrants.

Egyptian security forces dispersed the two peaceful protests, Amnesty reported, using tear gas and water cannons.

Dozens of members of the Sudanese community were also arrested - including children. After being taken to what Amnesty believes was a central prison in Giza the protesters were subject to beatings and racial slurs.

Amnesty International said it knows of 10 individuals currently detained. 

"There can be no justification for the Egyptian security forces' brutal crackdown on Sudanese refugees and migrants who took the streets to demand justice for the horrifying killing of a child,"  said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director.

"The way the security forces are lashing out against people exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is abhorrent and must immediately end."

"Allegations of beatings, the use of racial slurs and other forms of ill-treatment by security forces must be investigated, and those responsible must be held accountable," Luther added.

"Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights."

Security forces raided the homes and workplaces of several Sudanese activists in Cairo on Monday. Others received calls threatening them with deportation or detention. 

On Sunday, the Office of the Public Prosecution released a statement claiming the child's suspected killer had been detained and dismissing any suggestions of human rights violations. A day later, the suspect reportedly confessed to the killing.

At least 49,000 Sudanese refugees are registered with the UNHCR but the true number of Egypt's Sudanese population is believed to be much higher.

Protests have been effectively banned in Egypt since 2013, following the military ouster of the country's first-democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi. 

An ongoing crackdown since Morsi's removal has swept up thousands of Islamists as well as secular activists, lawyers, journalists, social media influencers and academics.

A renewable state of emergency has been in place in Egypt since 2017, a measure that rights groups say has allowed the government to crush dissent.

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