Egyptian regime abuses its authority over the Rafah Crossing
Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) expresses its dismay at the Egyptian regime’s misuse of its control over the Rafah Border Crossing, and the harm this causes to the people of Gaza Strip and Palestinians wishing to use the crossing for healthcare, education, work, and family reasons.
AOHR UK states that people stranded at Rafah continue to suffer due to the Egyptian authorities’ management of the crossing, specifically in allowing only a limited number of people to cross at all, and the non-provision of dedicated places where people are able to safely wait as they attempt to return to their homes in Gaza.
AOHR UK observes that the Egyptian authorities returned approximately 85 vehicles (each with between 7-12 passengers) to Cairo over that period, after having waited at Suez Canal ferry terminal for up to five days, in the hope of returning to Gaza.
AOHR UK underlines that life in the Gaza Strip cannot continue under such restrictions, which further increase the suffering of a people living under Israel’s near fifteen-year occupation, which has caused the collapse of the health, educational, industrial, and economic systems in Gaza, and both mass unemployment and profound poverty.
AOHR UK observes that there are now approximately 20,000 people wishing to travel to and from Gaza, whose names are registered with Crossings and Borders Authority of the Ministry of the Interior Gaza. The majority of them have urgent reasons for travel, most of all those patients referred for treatment in Egyptian and other countries’ hospitals.
AOHR UK repeats that Egyptian authorities’ policy towards Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is contrary to humanitarian norms of clemency and co-operation and, moreover, a blatant violation of international law that, we argue, amounts to a war crime and crimes against humanity as defined by Articles 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute.
AOHR UK calls on the international community and the relevant international bodies to intervene urgently, and to take measures that oblige the Egyptian authorities to permanently re- open the Rafah Crossing.