Physicians for Human Rights - Israel וו Hotline for Migrant Workers - Israel
Agenzia Habeshia - Italy וו Release Eritrea – United Kingdom
International Commission on Eritrean Refugees (ICER) – United States
Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR) - Sweden
The America Team for Displaced Eritreans – United States
- Press Release -
According to Testimonies Collected World-Wide
and Despite Recent Reports regarding Refugees Released in Sinai:
More than 350 asylum seekers are now being held in Sinai torture camps; hostages include pregnant women and minors.
The torture camps continue to operate even though detailed information describing smuggling networks operating in Sinai and beyond has been transferred to the international community, diplomats, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and Israeli authorities.
Information describing collaborators located in Israeli territory has been transferred to the Israeli police, yet the police have made no arrests.
The organizations Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Hotline for Migrant Workers in Israel, Agenzia Habeshia in Italy, Release Eritrea in the UK, the International Commission on Eritrean Refugees (ICER), the America Team for Displaced Eritreans and the Swedish Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR)publish today concrete information about smuggling and torture networks operating in Sinai, Egypt.
For more than 18 months, the chilling evidence of horrors inflicted by human traffickers onto refugees as they are on their way to Israel through the Sinai desert has been published and broadcasted throughout the world and in Israel. During the past year, the organizations signed on this document have provided detailed information, systematically collected, regarding smuggling networks operating in the Sinai and beyond to influential bodies in the international community including diplomats, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the Israeli authorities. The information transferred by the organizations and published today includes details on smugglers operating in Sinai and those that assist them in Israel and Sudan.
The organizations are in continuous contact with refugees held hostage in the Sinai camps; today's released report is based on the most recent information collected via phone conversations over the last few weeks. According to these conversations, 4 groups are currently being held by smugglers: a group of 165 refugees held north of the city Mansoura, Egypt, a group of 59 refugees in North Sinai near the city of Rafah, a group of 111 people held in an unknown location, and a group of 17 Sudanese refugees apparently held in the village of Al Jorra in Sinai.
The Israeli organizations publish today about their many communications with the Israeli police regarding suspected collaborators that have collected ransom money inside of Israel and transferred it to the human traffickers in Sinai. Representatives from these organizations as well as refugees living in Israel have submitted a number of complaints about collaborators to the Israeli police in the last few months. Activists from the organizations claim that despite the information that was transferred, despite several meetings with the relevant police unit, and despite the testimony from the refugees in Israel, the police have yet to take this issue seriously.
The organizations also publish today that of the refugees interviewed by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel in the last year alone, 39 of them were kidnapped by smugglers and arrived to Israel against their will. On November 7, 2011, the Hotline for Migrant Workers spoke with an Eritrean refugee who was kidnapped along with 84 Eritrean refugees in Kassala, Sudan and only managed to be released from captivity in Sinai after 6 months of hardship and a payment of 10,000 dollars.
The organizations Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Hotline for Migrant Workers, Agenzia Habeshia, International Commission on Eritrean Refugees, America Team for Displaced Eritreans, Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights, and Release Eritrea call again on the Egyptian and Israeli authorities and the international community to act quickly in order to free the refugees held hostage in the Sinai, to prosecute the smugglers and those that assist them, to bring an immediate end to the torture camps and the network of human trafficking, and to provide care for the torture survivors.