Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday detailed abuses against civilians by both the Egyptian government and militants in the Sinai Peninsula, some of which the HRW has classified as war crimes. The information developed in the report was collected over a two-year investigation into the conditions facing civilians in Sinai.
The abuses detailed in the report include mass arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, extrajudicial killings, and possibly unlawful air and ground attacks against civilians. These actions are part of the government’s fight against the ISIS-affiliate militants in Sinai. HRW claims that both groups are guilty of committing atrocities against civilians, but the Egyptian government is responsible for the majority of the abuses.
Further, the report finds that “the fight in North Sinai most likely amounts to a non-international armed conflict (NIAC) in which the laws of war apply.” Under these laws, both sides of the conflict have been found to “violate international laws of war, as well as local and international human rights laws.”
HRW “calls on the Egyptian authorities to protect civilians and uphold its obligations under the international laws of war and local and international human rights laws.”
The report concludes with recommendations at both the national and international level, calling on the Egyptian government, the Israeli government, the US government, as well as international coalitions and organizations, urging each of them to take on a role in preventing the continued violations of international law and the abuses against civilians.