Last Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014, 13:14 GMT

Egypt: Eritrean migrant killed at the Israeli border

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 17 October 2008
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Egypt: Eritrean migrant killed at the Israeli border, 17 October 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/494a1279c.html [accessed 13 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

FIDH strongly condemns the killing of an Eritrean man by Egyptian border police on Tuesday October 14th, who openly fired at two migrants attempting to cross over to Israel, killing one and wounding the other. According to news agencies, this death brings the total of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers killed by Egyptian border police at the border with Israel this year alone, to the alarming number of 23.

Openly firing at migrants seeking to cross the border from Egypt to Israel border is becoming an increasingly common practice used by Egyptian security at the border. FIDH reminds the Egyptian government of its obligations under international law, in particular to respect all persons' right to life. International law strictly limits the use of firearms by security forces to circumstances in which lives are in danger and there are no other ways to respond. FIDH underlines that there are no indications in this case or in the 22 previous such killings in 2008, that the migrants posed any threat to life. FIDH further stresses that until now, no official investigation has been opened into these incidents.

Since early 2008, hundreds of Eritreans have entered Egypt to flee persecution and seek asylum. In view of the risk of grave human rights violations on their return, the UNHCR issued directives to governments that refugees and asylum seekers, including those who have been refused refugee status, should not besent back to Eritrea . In flagrant disregard for these directives, earlier this year Egypt sent over 1000 asylum seekers back to Eritrea.

FIDH calls upon the Egyptian authorities to:

  • Open independent investigations into killings by Egyptian border police.
  • Instruct the Egyptian border police not to use lethal force except in cases of absolute necessity, in accordance with international law.
  • End all forcible returns of Eritrean migrants, in accordance with the directives of the UNHCR, international human rights law and refugee law.

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