Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) expresses its grief and denouncement of the criminal atrocities committed by the Egyptian security forces against the striking Sudanese refugees yesterday morning. Approximately 25 people were killed and dozens injured including women and children. CIHRS calls on the Egyptian authorities to form an independent inquiry committee to investigate the incidents and punish the perpetrators and bring them to trial. CIHRS also calls for declaring what came of around 3000 refugees who were collectively transferred to camps on the outskirts of Cairo.
It is noteworthy that the strike started late in September in the Moustafa Mahmoud garden across the premises of the UNHCR in Mohandeseen district, Cairo. They were protesting against the UNHCR decision issued in June 2004 halting interviews to identify the refugee status of Sudanese and cease the assistance provided to them by UNHCR. The striking refugees were calling for ending the said decision and resettling them to one of the resettlement countries. Over such time, negotiations were taking place between the striking committee and UNHCR; however, they did not reach a compromise.
On Friday, December 30, morning, the Ministry of Interior mobilized thousands of the anti-riot forces and encircled the striking refugees. They asked the refugees to end their strike and ride the buses provided to take them away from the place of strike. The refugees disobeyed the orders of the Egyptian Interior, at which point, the police forces tried to forcibly end the strike by using water canons and sticks. Violent confrontations took place and resulted in the said human crisis.
In this framework, CIHRS is calling upon the Egyptian government and the UNHCR to provide a fair solution for these Sudanese fitting their hard living and social conditions. It also urges the authorities to hasten to make up for this crisis and identify the number and names of people killed and injured. According to field resources, the Egyptian police evacuated the striking refugees, amounting to approximately 3000, to various camps on the outskirts of Cairo. The fate of such refugees is still haunted with ambiguity.
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