5 February 2013

Egypt: NGO Condemns Interior Ministry for Child Abuse

The Egyptian Coalition for Child Rights (ECCR), a non-governmental organization, said on Monday that it had been monitoring violations against children during the recent events of violence.

ECCR issued on Monday a report regarding the status of child rights, the report condemned the Interior Ministry for "political exploitation and violence" against children.

According to the report, children were held fully accountable in many of the clashes that occured between the security forces and protesters.

ECCR issued an official statement saying that "since 25 January 2013, our legal unit monitored many violations; children were illegally jailed with adult prisoners, tried in adult courts, and denied their rights to counsel and notification of their families."

"The police interrogated children before they had access to a lawyer," the statement added.

Some of the children are less than 15 years old.

Egypt's Child Law requires that children who are accused of a crime to be handled exclusively by the Child Court.

The law sets criminal penalties for police or public officers who detain children with adult prisoners.

"At the time of writing this report, the number of child victims reached 83. The children were accused of the following:-

  •  Unlawful assembly.
  •  Disrupting public transportation.
  • Assaulting civil servants.
  • Use of force and possession weapons."

ECCR commented that such charges are usually directed at adults as it is unlikely for children to carry them out.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) also stated that the "Egyptian police and military officers have arrested and detained over 300 children during protests in Cairo over the past year."

HRW said that they found strong evidence that police and military officers beat many of the children and in some cases subjected them to treatment amounting to torture.

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