Between Death and Besiege
An overview of the situation for local residents in Sinai since the beginning of the Comprehensive Operation in February 2018
North Sinai has been in a continuous state of emergency since October 2014 under the pretext of the war on terror, which makes it vulnerable for ongoing violations of the basic rights for individuals. On November 29, 2017, following the terrorist attack targeting AlRawda Mosque in Beer Abd of Al-Arish which left over 300 persons killed, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi demanded that the Mohamed Farid Hegazy, Chief of the Armed Forces, and Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Interior, use all possible brute force against terrorism until it is uprooted. On February 9, 2018, the military spokesman of the Egyptian army announced the launch of a “Comprehensive Counterterrorism and Countercriminal Plan” in North-Sinai and Central Sinai under the name of “Sinai Comprehensive Plan 2018”, which increased the intensity of the security measures in Sinai.
With no international and local oversight on the war on terror, North and Central Sinai have become completely out of coverage, prone to unaccountable violations or answerability. Hence, this report attempts to monitor some of the violations reported by Sinai’s local residents through their local pages since the beginning of “Sinai’s Comprehensive Operation 2018”, that are ignored by the military which does not provide any feedback or acknowledgment. It should be noted that the following monitoring does not provide a definitive answer regarding the violations suffered by the people of Sinai in the context of the “war on terrorism” but it only approaches the military’s official story to that of the local pages of Sinai’s local residents, on which they publish their daily news up close.
The report is divided into two sections. The first section provides a legal framework of the obligations of governments during states of emergency and the war on terror, as well as the basic rights enjoyed by individuals that must not be violated under any circumstances. The second section is divided into four main axes, representing the possible violations committed by regular forces during their war on terror, which are monitored by the Egyptian Front.
The first axis monitors the death toll of both the terrorist groups and the regular forces, according to the statements of the military spokesperson, it also monitors the death toll of civilians by both the regular forces and terrorist groups as narrated by local pages. The second axis addresses the impact of Sinai’s war on terrorism, such as injuries sustained by the army, police and civilians, based on statements by the military spokesman, corresponding to what was observed by the local pages. The third axis monitors the military spokesman’s statements of arrest of members of terrorist groups in Sinai since the beginning of the “comprehensive operation”, matched by the number of civilian detainees according to local pages. Finally, the fourth axis deals with the impact of the war on terror on economic and social rights in Sinai in terms of food shortages, education, health, disconnection of telecommunications networks, the Internet and electricity, and the destruction of homes.