'Release Nubian protesters' Amnesty International tells Egypt

'Release Nubian protesters' Amnesty International tells Egypt
Amnesty International has urged Egypt to release 24 Nubian activists who were arrested for holding a protest demanding greater respect from Cairo for their cultural rights.
2 min read
13 September, 2017
Nubian protesters have been arrested [AFP]

Amnesty International has urged Egypt to release 24 Nubian activists who were arrested after holding a protest that called on Cairo to respect their cultural rights.

The protesters were detained after Egyptian police violently dispersed a demonstration by Nubian activists in Aswan on 3 September and are due to appear in court on Wednesday.

The demonstrators called for the return of Nubian homelands in the south of the country and greater respect for indigenous people's cultural rights.

It follows discrimination against the minority group by successive Egyptian governments with the demonstration calling on Cairo to respect to the 2014 Egyptian constitution that recognizes their right to return to their homelands.

"Egyptian authorities have long since marginalised Nubians, ignoring their demands to return to their historical lands and treating Nubian activism as suspicious on security grounds," said Najia Bounaim Amnesty International's North Africa campaigns director. 

"Instead of flagrantly flouting Nubians' rights to freedom of expression and assembly by continuing to detain them over their peaceful protest, the authorities must release these 24 activists from custody immediately."

Amnesty International said families of those detained have been barred from visiting the activists despite obtaining permits from prosecutors.

The displacement of Nubians from their homes between 1912 and 1964 has had a huge economic impact on communities.

The new areas the Nubians were displaced to often lacked the necessary water and fertile land for agriculture.

Schools have also barred from teaching the Nubian language and they have forced to assimilate with Arabic-speaking Egyptian communities.