15 October 2007

Refugees shot dead along the Egypt-Israel border

ROMA, 15 October 2007 - A day after a Sudanese refugee was shot and killed while trying to cross into Israel from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, border guards wounded today two Turkish teenagers, 14 and 15 years old, as they attempted to sneak into the Jewish state. This year Egypt police has already killed three migrants along the Sinai border with Israel: one Eritrean and two Sudanese.
The 17th September 2007, Egyptian border guards shot dead an Eritrean man trying to cross the border from Egypt to Israel, and detained four other Eritreans travelling in the same group in the central section of the border in Sinai. The 23rd July 2007 Egyptian police shot and wounded two Sudanese men, Usama Musa Abkar, 33, and Naji Mohammed Abkar, 28, as they tried to make the crossing south of the border town of Rafah into Israel. The day before, a Darfuri woman was shot dead and four others, including a woman and a young girl, were critically injured by police fire as they tried, with a group of 26 African migrants, to cross into Israel in the same area. The two men were smuggled in a truck by Bedouin tribesmen who dropped them some 15 kilometers (10 miles) south of the Rafah border crossing.

In the past few months some 1,400 refugees have crossed the border into Israel. About 1,000 are Sudanese, including 200 from Darfur. According to a new plan, announced on 1 July, Israel will return to Egypt "infiltrators" crossing the countries' joint border. A government communiqué said they would be "quickly" deported and indicated they would not be able to make an asylum claim in Israel. As many as 50 people arrived each day in June, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Many Sudanese find life difficult in Egypt, a country that struggles to provide jobs and social services for a growing refugee population. The 30th December 2005, Egyptian riot police brutally attacked a crowd of Sudanese refugees protesting outside the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cairo, killing at least 25, while injuring scores of others. Around 3,500 refugees and asylum-seekers from Sudan had been camped for the past three months, many of them sleeping in the open, in Mustafa Mahmoud square, Mohandiseen—an upper-middle-class suburb of the capital where the UNHCR has an office. They were protesting the treatment they suffer in Egypt and seeking resettlement in another country