Enforced Disappearance in Egypt

Thousands of Egyptian families continue to suffer the pain of not knowing anything about their forcibly disappeared family members, whether they’re alive or dead, leaving them hanging between hope and despair.

The pain of the forcibly disappeared‘s families is increased in relation to the length of disappearance, which began for some since the coup of July 3, 2013, although there are others who have disappeared since January, 2011 revolution. However, rights organisations have documented the number of forced disappeared since the coup d’état to date, which reached 11,224, including 3,045 in 2020 only.

Despite committing crimes against humanity and the flagrant violation of international law and international human rights instruments, the Egyptian authorities continued committing more crimes supported with the silence of their international allies.

Despite repeated calls of the Egyptian Government to stop the enforced disappearance, and the denial of legal protection for disappeared persons, as well as the increased rates of torture and ill-treatment, security practices clearly indicate the intention of the security services to continue to use enforced disappearance. The continuation of the security campaign against human rights defenders and those involved in investigations into cases of enforced disappearance also points to a retaliatory approach by state institutions against human rights groups.

Numerous institutions and law centers follow up on complaints and reports of dozens of enforced disappearances in Egypt by students, activists and demonstrators in the conduct of the Egyptian authorities to intimidate opponents and perpetuate the suppression of freedoms. The Egyptian authorities do not show the minimum level of cooperation with cases of forced concealment recorded in the country, evident in their involvement in targeting legal activists working to document the crime of forced disappreance.

More than 100 rights organisations around the world have addressed the UN Member States in early 2021, warning that the Egyptian government is trying to annihilate human rights organisations and eliminate the Egyptian rights movement through systematic and widespread attacks. The organisations called on the Member States to adopt a United Nations resolution establishing an international monitoring mechanism for Egypt. Under President Abdel Fattah Al – Sisi, the Egyptian authorities have effectively eliminated the freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and the right of association. The security forces committed crimes with the complicity of prosecutors and judges; arbitrary arrest and detention and the trial of thousands, including hundreds of human rights and Coptic rights defenders, peaceful demonstrators, journalists and academics, artists and politicians. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has already recognised that arbitrary detention has become a systematic practice in Egypt. Many have also been subjected to forced disappearance, torture, ill-treatment and detention for months or years in inhumane conditions without trial, based on unfounded terrorism-related charges.

Rights Organisations and the International community calling Egypt to stop its violations and practices outside the law

Amnesty International, the Cairo Centre for Human Rights Studies and Human Rights Watch have stated that the Human Development Report of Egypt, published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in September 2021, contains false and misleading allegations, many of which are aimed at beautifying the gross violations of international human rights law. The Rights organisations called on the Egyptian authorities to “abide by the principles and charters of human rights that they have ratified, to act to hold the perpetrators accountable and to stop the violations committed by the government and Egyptian security forces.

In its 2021 annual report, Human Rights Watch also condemned “the cruel grip of the authoritarian government”, noting that prison conditions, already terrible because of Covid-19 pandemics, have worsened.  According to Human Rights Watch, “dozens of prisoners died in custody, of which at least 14 were infected with the new Coronavirus.”

Despite criticism of Egypt at the international and domestic levels, the government has always denied its violations and practices outside the law.

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