Human Rights Watch (HRW) today called on Israel to explain the nature of its forces’ involvement in Egypt’s crackdown in North Sinai, accusing Cairo of “committing violations” against civilians.
Published today, the report: “‘If You Are Afraid for Your Lives, Leave Sinai!’: Egyptian Security Forces and ISIS-Affiliate Abuses in North Sinai”, documents the way in which “the Egyptian military and police have carried out systematic and widespread arbitrary arrests—including of children—enforced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings, collective punishment, and forced evictions”. It claims that the Egyptian regime has made attempts to conceal details uncovered in the report through an effective ban on independent reporting.
Authorities in Egypt were not immediately available to comment on the report, which included references to “war crimes” committed by the Egyptian government, armed groups and Israel.
However, the Egyptian authorities have repeatedly denied HRW’s allegations about Sinai, considering such reports as “politicised and lacking in professionalism” and denying any interferences or violations.
According to HRW’s report, “violence escalated dramatically after July 2013, when the Egyptian military forced former President Mohamed Morsi out of office and arrested him.”
It added that Egypt “coordinated” the deployment of its troops in to Sinai “with Israel and has apparently allowed Israel to conduct airstrikes inside Sinai on militants’ targets”.
Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations Human Rights Council and the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights to open independent commissions of inquiry into the abuses in Sinai. It also called on Egypt’s international partners to immediately halt all security and military assistance until the President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s regime ends its abuses.
The Israeli government has made no comment regarding the report.