Eight UN human rights experts have issued a joint statement in which they criticised the Egyptian authorities’ forcible deportation of seven Eritrean asylum seekers to their country, including five children.
The experts expressed their grave concern over the Egyptian authorities’ forcible return of the Eritrean asylum seekers given the serious risks they may face, including torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance, in addition to Egypt’s violation of international human rights obligations.
The UN experts emphasised that “Individuals who have fled Eritrea and subsequently forcefully returned are considered as “traitors” and are often detained upon arrival to Eritrea, questioned, tortured, held in extremely punitive conditions and disappeared,” adding that “any repatriation process without full respect for procedural guarantees, including an individual risk assessment, violates the absolute prohibition of refoulement under international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law”.
The UN experts said that the asylum seekers who were returned to their country “were part of a larger group of 18 Eritreans – all members of the same family – who entered Egypt via Sudan in October 2019, and had been detained by the Egyptian authorities since then.”
while the Egyptian authorities continue to detain three other members of the family.”
They pointed out that “eight other family members were returned to Eritrea on 30 October. They have not been seen since”, while the Egyptian authorities continue to detain three other members of the family.
The eight experts who signed the statement are: Nils Melzer, Rapporteur on Torture, and 4 members of the Panel on Arbitrary Detention: Elena Steinert, Priya Gopalan, Miriam Estrada Castillo and Mumba Malila, along with Philip González Morales, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, and Tlalang Mofokeng, Rapporteur on the right in physical and mental health, and Mohamed Abdel Salam Babiker, rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea.
It should be noted that since President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi assumed power in the country; The Egyptian authorities have been waging an unprecedented crackdown on dissidents and critics, arresting thousands in politically motivated arrests, many of whom have been convicted and sentenced in unfair trials, or held without trial for years on baseless terrorism-related charges, in unfair and very poor conditions of detention.