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Open Letter on British Delegation to Sinai October 2012 (2)

Open Letter on British Delegation to Sinai October 2012 (2)

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Published by PHR Israel

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Published by: PHR Israel on Oct 29, 2012
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10/29/2012

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To Whom It May Concern:Prime Minister David Cameron will be sending an important delegation of UK military personnel and fieldexperts, including Sir David Richards, to advise Egypt on the issue of security in the Sinai region. It is paramount that combating human trafficking and torture in Sinai is seen as a priority by this delegation.Since 2009, traffickers in the Sinai have held captive refugees and asylum seekers
en route
to Israel,subjecting them to harsh treatment including severe abuse rape and sexual assault, and demanding tens of thousands of dollars for their release. Testimonies of over 1,000 survivors recorded at Physician for HumanRights-Israel's Open Clinic in Jaffa since 2010 revealed that:
59% of interviewees described being seriously abused, physically and psychologically, bytraffickers and 11% exhibited wounds and scars from abuse.
81% of respondents were guarded, locked up or tied up in the Sinai desert by traffickers.
More than 600 women suffered sexual assault or rape.
Hostages were held captive for periods of ten to 200 days (average captivity time 23 days).
39% witnessed injury and/or death of other asylum-seekers and refugees while in the Sinai.
72% reported severe food deprivation; 63% reported being denied water.
Over 200 were handled by multiple groups of traffickers.
178 survivors reported being shot at by Egyptian border patrols on the Israel-Egypt border.In response to this abuse, the European Parliament passed R esolution B7-0169in March 2012. Little action  by the EU has followed on this issue.According to media reports, including in the Guardian, the UK will advise Egypt on quelling militants in the Sinai. The UK believes that its military assistance will help Egypt crackdown on armed groups,responsible for weapons smuggling into Gaza and the August 5th attacks that resulted in the death of 16Egyptian soldiers.Human rights organizations across the world have documented the exact names and locations of thetraffickers' compounds where these heinous acts occur. We specifically ask that you pass on information toyour delegation concerning the trafficking compound in El Mahadia, a village near Rafah in northeast Sinai.Currently, about 200 Eritrean hostages are being held underground by a gang of brothers in this compoundcomprised of several mansions with pink pagoda like roofs. A video of this location was broadcast on CNN  at the end of September.
UK assistance to Egypt cannot only focus on military concerns, but rather must include an end tothe horrific human trafficking perpetrated by the same groups in the Sinai desert.
Sincerely,Shahar Shoham Sigal Rozen Diddy MyminPHR-Israel Hotline for Migrant Workers ARDCshahar@phr.org.ilrozen.sigal@gmail.com diddymymin@ardc-israel.org  054-9431847054-8177845 054-9765667
 
Hotline forMigrant Workers
"You shall not wrong astranger or oppress him,for you were strangers in theland of Egypt" -
Exodus 22:20

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