Eritrean refugees trafficked and tortured in Egypt’s Sinai

Traffickers and kidnappers in Sinai are torturing and exploiting refugees fleeing Eritrea. Even babies are not exempt from torture tactics, like burning and shackling, according to a Swedish-based Eritrean journalist. The refugees are kidnapped and tortured with the aim of extorting ransom money from their families.

Voices of Eritrean Refugees, a Sweden-based radio show by Eritrean journalist and human rights activist Meron Estefanos says she’s been trying to spread the word about the gross human rights violations carried out by traffickers for years, and that it is only now that organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are taking heed.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Estafanos said that refugees are kidnapped from the Eritrean-Sudanese borders and even from refugee camps in Sudan. In some cases, they are kidnapped by border guards. The kidnappers then force the hostages to call their families while they are being tortured to ask for a ransom be paid.

The UN Refugee Watch reports that close to 5% of Eritreans have fled the country in the past decade, making them easy targets for kidnappers. Estafanos hopes her show will raise awareness about the plight of Eritrean refugees and will put a stop to the violations and prevent them from spreading further.

“Similar kidnappings are now happening in Libya,” says Estefanos.

Read the full story on Al Jazeera.

– Featured image via Wikimedia Commons