Eritrean Refugees Face Torture at the Hands of People Smugglers

According to a report published by the Human Rights Watch, many Eritrean refugees have faced torture, squalidly conditions and rape in neighboring countries having fled violence in Eritrea.

Eritrea and it`s position relative to Sudan and Egypt

 

Dozens of testimonies were collected to compile the report titled, I Wanted to Lie Down and Die: Trafficking and Torture of Eritreans in Sudan and Egypt. The report tells of one 23 year old Eritrean man who was captured in Sudan and sold on to Egyptian traffickers. He suffered outrageous torture including having molten plastic dripped on his back and having his feet whipped before being asked to stand on his injured feet for extended periods of time. The women who he saw being trafficked faced repeated rape.

 

The report also includes the testimony of two traffickers. Although they were ashamed with their actions, the income they got from ransoms, often the equivalent of 200,000 dollars per year, was an irresistible motive for them to continue to traffic people

 

Many people are resold 3 or 4 times and may spend up to 10 years in the hands of people smugglers. Many of these people are forced to work as domestic servants or in the construction industry. One man from Sinai, Sheikh Mohamed, told the Human Rights Watch: “I know of hundreds [of Eritreans] at this very moment who are forced to work on construction sites. They are building houses for the kidnappers, who pay for the construction materials with the ransom money.”

 

Only a small proportion of the traffickers in Egypt and Sudan have been convicted. Part of the problem is that many police officers are involved in the smuggling process. Only four police officers in Sudan and none in Egypt have been convicted despite many testimonies stating that police officers are involved. Refugees International Japan will keep an eye on issues like this as we continue to raise awareness of the issues affecting refugees around the world.

 

For more information about the situation in Eritrea refer to the UNHCR website: http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49e4838e6

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