Egyptian authorities should bring an immediate end to the unlawful killings of migrants and asylum seekers near Egypt’s Sinai border with Israel, Human Rights Watch said today. According to news reports, Egyptian border guards shot and killed four migrants on September 9, 2009, bringing to at least 12 the number killed since May as they tried to cross into Israel.
General Muhammad Shousha, the governor of North Sinai, was quoted after the recent killings justifying the policy of shooting at the migrants as “necessary.” The latest killings come just days before President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel are scheduled to hold high-level talks in Cairo on September 13.
“Egypt has every right to manage its borders, but using routine lethal force against unarmed migrants – and potential asylum seekers – would be a serious violation of the right to life,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “These individuals appeared to post no threat to the lives of the border guards or anyone else. Attempted border crossings are not a capital offense.”