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Egypt: Police Kill Sudanese Refugees

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    Egyptian Police Kill 10 Sudanese Refugees http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2005-12/30/article07.shtml Unconscious Sudanese woman is lifted up by
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2006
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      Egyptian Police Kill 10 Sudanese Refugees
      http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2005-12/30/article07.shtml


      Unconscious Sudanese woman is lifted up by Egyptian riot police.
      (Reuters)


      CAIRO, December 30, 2005 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) - Ten
      Sudanese refugees were killed Friday, December 30, when thousands of
      Egyptian riot police forcefully broke up a three-month protest they
      had been staging outside UN offices in Cairo.

      Egyptian police armed with sticks and shields broke up the small
      square where the Sudanese refugees had been camping at around 5:00
      am (0300 GMT), Agence France-Presse (AFP) said.

      "There was a stampede that left 30 of the protesters injured, most
      of them the elderly and young and they were immediately taken to the
      hospital where 10 of them died," said a statement by the Egyptian
      interior ministry.

      The ministry added that twenty-three police officers were wounded,
      accusing migrant leaders of inciting attacks against the police.

      The statement said that attempts had been made to convince the
      refugees to disperse but to no avail.

      The police forces -- who numbered close to 5,000 in the neighborhood
      for the operation -- initially used water cannon in a bid to
      disperse the refugees.

      Several people were seen being dragged away from the mayhem, as the
      refugees -- including dozens of women and small children -- tried to
      resist their evacuation.

      The refugees were forced into dozens of buses lined up on one of the
      main thoroughfares in Cairo's neighborhood of Mohandessin, ending a
      standoff that had lasted most of the night.

      "They want to kill us," shouted one Sudanese protester as he was
      frog-walked towards a bus.

      "Our demands are legitimate, it is our right to protest here, the
      only right we have."

      UN "Deeply Shocked"

      Meanwhile, the head of the UN refugee agency said he was "deeply
      shocked" at the killings.

      "I am deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic events early today
      in Cairo," High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in
      Geneva, according to AFP.

      "Although we still do not have all of the details or a clear picture
      of what transpired, violence left several people dead and injured.

      "There is no justification for such violence and loss of life. This
      is a terrible tragedy and our condolences go to all the families of
      those who died and to the injured," he said.

      "Police Crime"


      Egyptian riot police arrest injured Sudanese man after storming
      their makeshift camp. (Reuters)


      The violent intervention of Egyptian police to disperse the protests
      has drawn rebukes from a human rights group.

      "The Egyptian police handling of the protests of the Sudanese
      refugees is by all means a crime," Nijad Al-Boraei of the Egyptian
      Organization for Human Rights told Al-Jazeera Friday.

      He said that the Egyptian police are used to resorting to excessive
      force in dealing with protests.

      "Friday's police handling of the protests brings to mind police
      practices during the Egyptian parliamentary elections, which left 11
      people killed."

      Up to 3,000 protesters had been living at the camp since it was set
      up on September 29.

      The long-running demonstration began after the United Nations Higher
      Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stopped aid to those who had
      applied and failed to get refugee status.

      The UNHCR says it has to prioritize help for people genuinely at
      risk of persecution and cannot solve issues of discrimination and
      deprivation in Egypt, where unemployment is high.

      It says that most of the Sudanese demonstrators are economic
      migrants rather than those fleeing persecution, and so do not
      qualify as refugees.

      But many of the protesters argue it is not yet safe to return to
      Sudan, despite the signing of a peace accord nearly a year ago which
      ended the 21-year north-south civil war.

      "The trust is gone. We will be happy if we end up in any other
      country, but look how this Arab country is treating us, just because
      we are black. It's a disgrace," Paul, a young refugee from the
      southern Sudanese city of Juba, told AFP just before being evacuated.

      "They are telling us to go back because the war is over, but it's
      not so simple," said George Oliver, a 20-year-old from the same
      region.

      "There are people here from all parts of the country who have had
      problems with the army. I seized from the street in Khartoum and
      drafted by force in the military. Now I am here, if I go back to
      Sudan, they will find me," he said.

      ===

      Fury at Egyptian Police Killing of Refugees


      Eyewitnesses and refugee sources said 20 were killed. (Reuters)


      By Khaled Mamdouh, Hamdy Al Husseini, IOL Staff
      http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2005-12/30/article07.shtml

      CAIRO, December 30, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – The brutal handling of
      Sudanese refugees by Egyptian police forces Friday, December 30,
      intrigued public fury and brought to the fore the notorious
      practices by the security forces and their excessive use of force
      against Egyptians themselves during the recent parliamentary
      elections.

      "This crime proves anew the little, if any, weight our police forces
      give to human rights or even human life itself," a visibly furious
      Egyptian student told IOL, following the weekly Friday prayers at a
      mosque in Dokki, not far from where the tragic incident took place
      hours earlier.

      An unknown number of Sudanese refugees were killed when thousands of
      Egyptian riot police forcefully broke up a three-month protest they
      had been staging outside UN offices in Cairo.

      While the Egyptian ministry of interior put the number of dead at
      10, a refugee source doubled the figure.

      Over five thousand policemen armed with sticks and shields broke up
      the small square where the Sudanese refugees had been camping at
      around 5:00 am (0300 GMT) Friday.

      "What do you expect with Habeeb El-Adly holding to his post after
      the massacres police forces committed against us Egyptians in the
      elections?" charged Samer, a political science student at Cairo
      University.

      He was referring to Egyptian Minister of Interiors Habeeb El-Adly,
      who has been facing growing calls for his sacking following the
      death of 11 Egyptians and the wounding of scores others during the
      country's month-long parliamentary polls that ended December 6.

      Dozens of Egyptians, leaving the mosque, echoed the same message.

      Unknown Fate


      Police officers were shown kicking refugees on TV. (Reuters)


      One of the refugees, who was at a Cairo hospital where most of the
      injured and those who breathed their last were transferred, told IOL
      over the phone that some 20, including at least three children and
      four elderly, were killed by police brutality.

      "I lost my baby and my father is struggling on death bed here. What
      is worse is that I do not know about the fate of the rest of my
      family who were forced into these buses," the Sudanese refugee said,
      asking not to be named.

      The refugees were forced into dozens of buses lined up on one of the
      main thoroughfares in Cairo's neighborhood of Mohandessin, ending a
      standoff that had lasted most of the night.

      Eyewitnesses asserted to IOL that there were at least 20 victims
      that lost their lives, following the end of the violent attack by
      police forces.

      Government Statement

      A statement from the ministry of interiors cited a number of reasons
      behind the bloody confrontation, ranging from complaints from
      residents of the area where the some 3,000 refugees have been
      setting up their makeshift camp for some three months, to fears of a
      disease outbreak and threats filed against the nearby offices of the
      United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

      But the head of the UN refugee agency in Geneva said he was "deeply
      shocked" at the killings.

      "I am deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic events early today
      in Cairo," High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in a
      statement.

      "Although we still do not have all of the details or a clear picture
      of what transpired, violence left several people dead and injured.

      "There is no justification for such violence and loss of life. This
      is a terrible tragedy and our condolences go to all the families of
      those who died and to the injured," he said.

      The UNHCR in Egypt were not available for comment.

      Up to 3,000 protesters had been living at the camp since it was set
      up on September 29.

      The long-running demonstration began after the United Nations Higher
      Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stopped aid to those who had
      applied and failed to get refugee status.

      Probe


      Human rights groups in Egypt are demanding a probe into the brutal
      attack. (Reuters)


      Head of Egyptian National Society for Human Rights (ENSHR) Ameer
      Salem told IOL that what happened in Cairo Friday was nothing less
      than "a human massacre and a new black spot in the ugly record of
      the Egyptian security forces that give no damn about the lives of
      civilians".

      Salem called for an investigation to unveil those responsible for
      killing the refugees.

      "All those who planned and carried out that crime must be presented
      to trial before the Egyptian courts that give legal refugees all
      rights. We will also call for compensating the victims' families and
      we will be monitoring how much the Egyptian government respects
      local and international laws in that matter."

      The Movement of Egyptian Mothers, a nascent civil society group,
      also called for a sit-in Saturday, December 31, at 5:00 p.m. local
      time (3:00 p.m. GMT) at the same square where the brutal handling
      took place to protest the bloody incident.

      "Police Crime"

      The violent intervention of Egyptian police to disperse the protests
      has drawn rebukes from a human rights group.

      "The Egyptian police handling of the protests of the Sudanese
      refugees is by all means a crime," Nijad Al-Boraei of the Egyptian
      Organization for Human Rights told Al-Jazeera Friday.

      He said that the Egyptian police are used to resorting to excessive
      force in dealing with protests.

      "Friday's police handling of the protests brings to mind police
      practices during the Egyptian parliamentary elections, which left 11
      people killed."

      *********************************************************************

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