- Human rights group have condemned Egyptian forces shooting of African migrants attempting to cross into Israel through the Sinai Peninsula.
A newly released report by Human Right Watch (HRW) said sneaking into neighbouring Israel has become deadly with at least 33 people reported to have died in the hands of Egyptian security forces in the remote border zone.
The report said those detained by Egyptian guards at border are put on trial in secret military courts and often denied access to United Nations refugee agency UNHCR in violation of international law.
The report also accused Israel of forcibly returning at least 139 African migrants to Egypt, where they risked arrest and deportation. Also this runs against international law.
"Egyptian government should send a clear message to stop shooting the defenceless, harmless people on the boarder," HRW researcher Bill Van Esveld said.
However, the government of Egypt has defended its methods, saying the growing number of illegal border crossings jeopardises national security.
Egyptian officials said the number of migrants from poor, conflict-ridden African countries crossing the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt to Israel has increased significantly since 2007. Since 2006, more than 130,000 refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants have passed though Egypt and crossed the Sinai border into Israel, according to the report.
African migrants have complained about the difficulty of social and economic integration in Egypt. In December 2005, police attacked thousands of Sudanese refugee protesters who were camped in the street to pressure the UN to relocate them to another country.
"The attack, which left at least 20 dead, is still perceived as the most scandalous evidence of the mistreatment of African refugees in Egypt," Mr Van Esveld said.
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