Annual Report: Egypt 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Egypt 2013

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  • At the end of January, three Coptic families from Sharbat village, Alexandria, were forcibly evicted from their homes by Muslims who suspected a Coptic man of possessing “indecent” images of a Muslim woman. Crowds attacked Copts’ homes and businesses. Village “reconciliation meetings” decided that the Coptic man and his extended family, as well as five neighbouring Coptic families, should leave the village and have their possessions sold on their behalf. The police did not intervene to protect the Copts from the attacks or forced eviction. Following a visit by a parliamentary delegation, only the five Coptic families unconnected to the original dispute were able to return.

Housing rights – forced eviction

The Constitution upheld the right to adequate housing, but did not explicitly prohibit forced evictions. Guarantees against forced eviction remained absent in Egypt’s laws and policies.

The government’s Informal Settlements Development Facility (ISDF) estimated that some 11,500 homes, mainly in Cairo, were located in “unsafe areas” and posed an imminent threat to life, requiring immediate clearance. The ISDF also marked a further 120,000 homes in “unsafe areas” for clearance before 2017. The ISDF reportedly considered the options of upgrading slums and providing alternative housing near existing dwellings.

Housing Ministry officials said the Cairo 2050 plan had been reviewed and some projects which would have involved mass evictions had been dropped. A new urban Egypt 2052 master plan was under development, but communities in informal settlements were not consulted.

  • In August, police clashed with residents of Ramlet Bulaq informal settlement, central Cairo, after a policeman allegedly killed a resident. Police then raided Ramlet Bulaq several times, arresting men and forcing many male community members to flee the area. Residents said the police threatened to continue such intimidation until they cleared the area. Ramlet Bulaq is planned for demolition.

Refugees and migrants

Egyptian security forces continued to shoot foreign migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers who sought to cross Egypt’s Sinai border into Israel, killing at least eight people. Human traffickers reportedly extorted and abused refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants crossing the Sinai Peninsula into Israel.

Death penalty

At least 91 people were sentenced to death, including after unfair trials by emergency courts. It was not known whether there were any executions.

  • In September, an emergency court sentenced to death 14 men, including eight in their absence, in relation to an attack which led to the killing of six people. They were also convicted of belonging to a Jihadist group.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Egypt several times in 2012 to conduct research.
  • Brutality unpunished and unchecked: Egypt’s military kill and torture protesters with impunity (MDE 12/017/2012)
  • Agents of repression: Egypt’s police and the case for reform (MDE 12/029/2012)
  • Egypt: New President must restore rule of law, govern for all (PRE01/316/2012)
  • Egypt’s new Constitution limits fundamental freedoms and ignores the rights of women (PRE01/590/2012)