Africans report torture, rape on way to Israel

In an attempt to halt African migrants, Israel has been erecting a wall along the porous border with Egypt and plans to set up a holding facility for those caught crossing the frontier.

Africans report torture, rape on way to Israel

African migrants en route to Israel are subject to torture, rape and assault by traffickers in Egypt's Sinai desert, Israeli Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) said, citing interviews it conducted with victims.

"From January to November 2010 we referred 165 women who travelled through Sinai to (Israeli) hospitals for abortions. We believe half of these women were sexually assaulted in Sinai," said Shahar Shoham, a case worker in PHR's open clinic in Jaffa.

PHR has been collecting testimony from migrants who say Bedouins whom they pay to smuggle them through Egypt's border with Israel hold them for days and sometimes weeks, demanding more cash and abusing them physically until the money is paid.

"I was beaten, electrocuted, tied up and thrown outside at night. We ate once in three days. There was one woman -- the traffickers raped her," Germai Omar, a 30-year-old Eritrean farmer, told Reuters in Tel Aviv.

He said he was detained for a month in the Sinai by the traffickers who demanded he add $1,500 to the original fee of $2,500. Omar contacted his family by cellphone and they gave the cash to the smugglers' contacts in Cairo.

PHR published a report in December based on the accounts of 167 migrants who told of abuse by the smugglers that included being burnt, branded, hung by the hands or feet and raped.

Last month, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said it was concerned about some 250 Eritreans held hostage by smugglers in the Sinai for about a month. Egyptian security sources in the Sinai said they searched the area but did not find anyone.

At the PHR clinic in Jaffa, Sister Aziza Kidane, an Eritraen nun interviews migrants about abuse they may have suffered or witnessed.

One 19-year-old Eritrean tells her he had no money and the smuggglers beat him with broken glass until one woman agreed to loan him cash. A 22-year-old Eritrean woman said she was threatened her kidneys would be sold to organ dealers.

Despite rumours they heard back home of what may happen to them in Sinai, they chose to take their chances."They have no other option," said Kidane, who has interviewed some 250 migrants so far.

Egyptian border police shot dead at least 30 African migrants in 2010, up from 19 in 2009. Omar, who has deep scars on his face and leg, said they resulted from Egyptian gunfire.

"They know it's risky, but once they're out they don't want to go back home," Kidane said.

In an attempt to halt African migrants, Israel has been erecting a wall along the porous border with Egypt and plans to set up a holding facility for those caught crossing the frontier.


Agencies

Last Mod: 13 Ocak 2011, 16:11
Add Comment
Comments
Tesfamariam
Tesfamariam - 10 yıl Before

We Eritreans have paid tens of thousands for the freedom of our country. The Eritrean people and government are working day and night to build their country and reach the developement , wht the developed countries have reached. To do this our main asset is our people in and outside Eritrea. The youth is the main engine to do the job. Western countries , they don't want to see this developement and are agitating our youth, to leave their country and go to west where they can lead a happy life. The truth is they are pulling Eritrean youth to a bitter death. Eritrean youth please think twice, ten times.. hundred times go back home save your life and build your country and make history like our Martyres.

Yonas
Yonas - 10 yıl Before

Many migrants from Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan etc.. are claiming to be Eritreans because of Israel's more favorable immigration policy towards Eritrean refugees in particular. The aim is to portray the young nation in the worst light possible, to promote neo colonial agendas and to recruit infiltrates from amongst the refugees. The youth are lead to believe that luxurious life awaits for them in places like Israel and beyond, then they are introduced to organized smugglers and after much abuse a few manage to reach their destination only to be bitterly disappointed. By the time they realize their mistakes, it will be too late for many to turn around and go back.