Genesis 11:5

The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. Genesis 11:5

Eritrean Asylum-Seekers Held Hostage in Sinai

The message I am including below is highly disturbing. Please stop reading if you find it too difficult. I could hardly get through this email I found in my Inbox today. After participating in the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration Conference in 2009, I ended up on a number of mailing lists maintained by people deep into the field of Refugee Care. This morning I received the following shocking message:
I just spoke to 28 Eritreans who are being held in the Egypt Sinai desert, they told me that they were kidnapped in Sudan by the Rashaida and were sold to the Egyptian Boudins. Most of the men I talked to told me that people came at the Sudanese refugee camp and offered them a farm job, they worked at the farm for over two months and was refused their salaries, and they then were sold to Rashaidas who held them captive near the Nile for over two months. The Rashaidas chained their feet and hands and refused to give them food, in order to survive they had to eat grass for over two months, the women were being gang raped in front of all every one. Two women has disappeared, no one knows what they did with them. After all this they put them in big tracks and sold them to Egyptian Boudins, on their way to the Sinai a 23 years old man died of hunger.

29 Eritreans In the Sinai held in underground dungeons, was asked to pay 20 thousand dollars each, they gave them three cell phones to make a miss call to their families and ask for help. The sad thing is all of them come from a poor family and there is no way they can get that kind of money. A 22 year old man told them, he could not get the money; he was then executed in front of everyone as a lesson. The captors are telling them we bought you for 20 thousand dollars each and we will get our money either way, you give us our money or we kill you and sell your organs and get our money back. All of them told me how they are being tortured every hour, how they are using electric shock and beating them every hour of the day.

Please help this poor Eritreans; you can call and talk to them with one of these three numbers
Three mobile phone numbers were listed at the bottom of the email. I'm still receiving email after email in response to this message, as the community of professionals shares their knowledge of the crisis. Someone wrote back saying that they've heard many "horror stories" like this one from Eritrean and Sudanese refugees. Several have mentioned that "Egyptian police seem to be part of the sordid system in many cases." If this is of interest to you, please take a look at this report on African asylum seekers being smuggled into Israel from the Egyptian Sinai. Furthermore, here is a link to the "Hotline for Migrant Workers" testimony report (PDF).

How shocking that such occurrences are part of the day to day lives of thousands upon thousands of displaced persons around the globe. For me this is incomprehensible. And I dare venture to say that the men and women inflicting and victimised by such violence are absolutely stunned, as well. What possesses one human being to impose such pain on another? If you have access to any resources to assist the victims described in the email above, and would like to be put in contact with the folks working to help them, please let me know. Otherwise, the best we can all do is keep them in our prayers, and learn how our actions support governments and corporations and industries that create and perpetuate violence.

I am in the middle of an outstanding novel completely based on the real life experiences of many refugees and asylum seekers entering the UK: The Other Hand. Half of the story is narrated by a young Nigerian refugee girl to England. As soon as she arrives she is placed in a detention centre, and she is held there for two years, simply for the crime of being a refugee. She is only released because another girl in the centre sleeps with one of the detention centre officers four times, and he releases three other young women with her so that his behaviour does not seem suspicious. That is only the very beginning. If possible, get your hands on this book and let me know what you think.

No comments:

Post a Comment