Friday, 23 April 2010

President Hosni Mubarak: Why is Egypt Murdering Refugees?!

President Hosni Mubarak: Why is Egypt Murdering Refugees?!

By Kidane Alemayehu

Open Letter to H.E. the Egyptian President, Mr. Hosni Mubarak,

April 20, 2010.

Your Excellency,

I wish to submit this open letter to Your Excellency with the hope and belief that you would give the important issue of international human rights an urgent and positive consideration. Specifically, my appeal to you is concerned with Egypt’s shoot-to-kill policy applied on poor Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees crossing over from Egypt to Israel.


Here is what was reported by Reuters only last February, 2010:

“Egypt Police Kill Migrant At Israel Border

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Reuters) - Egyptian police shot and killed an Ethiopian migrant Tuesday, injured two others and arrested 10 as they tried to cross the Egyptian-Israeli border, medical and security sources said.”

Here is another similar report by AFP on March 27, 2010:

“Egypt police kill two Eritrean migrants at Israel border"

AFP - Egyptian police shot dead two Eritreans on Saturday as the would-be migrants tried to cross the border illegally into Israel, a security official told AFP. Four people were also wounded during the shooting, including one who was in a critical condition, and another person was arrested. “

Mr. President:

The above murders are only examples of the inhumanity perpetrated by your government at the Israeli/Egyptian border. It should be noted that according to reliable sources, the refugees were shot in the back as they were fleeing from the Egyptian soldiers. What does this indicate about the humanity, let alone the bravery, of the soldiers?

It is time, Mr. President, that you put an immediate and a complete stop to your soldiers’ travesty, an international crime by any standards.


There are a number of tragic and, at the same time, ironic aspects to the situation occurring at the Egyptian side of the border with Israel. An amazing one is the fact that Egyptians who are members of the African Union are killing other Africans from entering, of all places, Israel! The Israeli government, on the other hand, applies civilized and humane standards that avoid mistreating, let alone killing refugees. The other irony is that Egypt thrives on the water (86%) cascading from Ethiopia free of charge. The soil that produces food in Egypt came from Ethiopia. But Egypt murders Ethiopian refugees at the Israeli border with impunity. A further irony is the fact that Egypt claims to be in compliance with international human rights declarations but its soldiers commit murders in open day light! In addition, the Egyptian government mercilessly loads refugees on airplanes and drops them back to Eritrea, for example, and only the Almighty knows what may have happened to the unfortunate human beings.


There was a time when Egypt was considered a place of refuge for people beleaguered in their respective countries. The most famous of these were, of course, Mary, the mother of Lord Jesus Christ, the child Jesus himself, and their escort, Joseph. I would not like to believe, Mr. President, that you are taking on the role of King Herod!

Ethiopia was and continues to be a place of refuge. I am sure you will remember, Mr. President, the historic fact that Prophet Mohammed sent his daughter, Rockeya with her husband as well as some 100 Arabs to Ethiopia where he knew that they would be treated with respect and the utmost care. They had stayed in Ethiopia for 15 years before they returned to Mecca.

I also remember in the 1950’s and 1960’s many Arabs, especially from the Ymen, who had migrated to Ethiopia and were working freely in rural and urban areas. The term “Arab Souq” was quite prevalent in Harer, an Ethiopian province, referring to shops operated by Arabs.

Do you think, Mr. President, that your soldiers should murder Ethiopian refugees?


I appeal to you, Mr. President, in the name of the Almighty whom we all worship, to stop your soldiers from murdering Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees. We do not expect you to sympathize with the causes that force people to flee from their beloved countries but request you to treat them in a humane and a civilized manner.

3 I also fervently request the international community in general and all the honourable individuals and organizations to whom this open letter is copied to extend their support in putting a stop to the Egyptian government’s murder of Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees at the Israeli/Egyptian border.

With thanks for your attention and expeditious action,

Yours respectfully,

Kidane Alemayehu

CC: Mr. Barack Obama, President of USA
CC: President of the African Union
CC: Secretary General, United Nations
CC: Secretary General, the Arab League
CC: President, European Union
CC: Executive Director, UNHCR
CC: Executive Director, UNHRO
CC: US Department of State
CC: Ethiopian Human Rights Organization
CC: Eritrean Human Rights Organization
CC: Amnesty International
CC: Human Rights Watch

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