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Egypt has complied with international law in Sinai: Cabinet

The cabinet's statement comes on the same day Human Rights Watch released a report criticising the treatment of residents in North Sinai whose houses were demolished

Ahram Online , Tuesday 22 Sep 2015
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File photo: Egyptian army near Al-Arish in the Sinai peninsula (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt has complied with international human rights law and has consulted with local residents while combating terrorism in Sinai, Egypt's new cabinet said in a press statement on Tuesday.

The statement, which sums up the efforts of the Egyptian government in Sinai over the past two years, said that residents subject to compulsory evacuation in North Sinai were surveyed to find out their preferred method of compensation.

The cabinet's statement came on the same day Human Rights Watch claimed that "the mass home demolitions and forced eviction of about 3,200 families in the Sinai Peninsula …violated international law."

The US-based rights watchdog said in a report that Egypt can "certainly protect itself from the insurgency and take action against the insurgents’ supply lines…in a way that does not arbitrarily harm civilians and violate their right to housing and their protections during forced evictions.”

For the past two years, Egypt has been combating a spike in a decade-long Islamist militant insurgency in North Sinai.

As part of its strategy to eliminate terrorism, the government evicted over 1,000 families and destroyed many houses, with the aim of creating a 1km-deep buffer zone along Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian forces have also been destroying underground tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, which they say are used by militants to smuggle weapons into Egypt.

The cabinet statement added that the majority of the surveyed citizens who were evicted from their homes to create the buffer zone wanted their compensation in the form of cash, while a minority preferred replacement land and housing.

The infrastructure of New Rafah, designed to replace the parts of the city of Rafah which were demolished to create the buffer zone, is currently being completed to absorb all those citizens who want to move there, the statement added.

The statement also said that security forces adhered to “the principle of not opening fire on a potential threat unless the source of threat imminently threatens security forces."

Human Rights Watch argued that, based on interviews with North Sinai citizens, Egyptian authorities had "provided residents with little or no warning of the evictions and no effective way to challenge their eviction, home demolition, or compensation."

The Human Rights Watch report also argues that Egypt has failed to use sophisticated tunnel-detecting technology, on which Egyptian personnel have been trained by the United States, in order to find and eliminate tunnels without destroying as many homes and buildings.

Cairo has repeatedly called Human Rights Watch's reports on the post-Morsi situation in Egypt biased.

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Allen
23-09-2015 06:55am
2223-
1114+
HRW has few vile objectives.
To protect, encourage, proliferate, give comfort to terrorists. You never hear from these sick organization when terrorists strike and victimize everyday citizens of Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Europe, Nigeria, the list is endless.
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3



Dan
23-09-2015 03:06am
1112-
1+
Their not moles.
The Human Rights Watch condemns Egypt for destroying the homes that house the terminus of the tunnels. These tunnels don't just pop up in the middle of a wheat field like moles. The people who own the homes are compensated by the people who planned and built the tunnels. If more than 1600 tunnels were built, I'm surprised only 3200 families were displaced. But more to the point, who compensates the families of the soldiers, policemen and civilians killed by the terrorists?
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Key
22-09-2015 03:52pm
1109-
6+
Is there anything else HRW is concerned about except terrorist's safety
Great job in part from Egypt's new cabinet clarifying facts. It certainly sends a strong message out to HRW and that US working group against Egypt tirelessly cooking up their schemes alongside their MB/Hamas terrorists. This is their desperate way of hitting back after Egyptians during the June 30 Revolution and on wards continue to give them a black eye by deciding to keep our unity and sovereignty on our own territory. Refusing to become another Syria, or Libya or Iraq.
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Uuta
22-09-2015 02:47pm
1112-
3+
In-Human Rights Watch
HRW (Human Rights Watch) does not seem to follow its own guidelines. No complaints about soldiers or civilians killed by insurgents, most likely coming from/through Gaza. Soldiers and civilians are "Humans" too............. in case un-HRW does not already know this.
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