Enforced disappearance is “state policy” in Egypt: Amnesty report

A hard-hitting report by Amnesty International released on 13 July, documents how enforced disappearances and torture in the name of “counterterrorism” have become “a key instrument of state policy” under the watch of President Abdelfattah al-Sisi.


The report confirms the picture already uncovered by Egyptian NGOs, of hundreds of people suffering abduction and torture as a deliberate state policy. It also confirms that the Egyptian human rights organisations collecting data about disappearances and supporting the relatives of those disappeared are themselves under attack from the Egyptian authorities.

Those “disappeared” include 14 year old children who have been disappeared, tortured and in some cases raped in order to force a “confession”. The report provides damning evidence of the complicity of the judiciary in enforced disappearances and torture – this is not a case of a single agency ‘gone rogue’, but a systematic policy across several major institutions of the state, directed at the highest level. Narratives of ‘counter-terrorism’ are used to justify these abuses both to the Egyptian public and to foreign governments.

Foreign governments selling or transferring arms and equipment which could be used in repression are not only complicit in the policy, they are actively encouraging it and this must stop, says Amnesty.

“All states, particularly EU member states and the USA, must use their influence to pressure Egypt to end these appalling violations, which are being committed under the false pretext of security and counter-terrorism,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s MENA Director.

“Instead of continuing to blindly supply security and police equipment to Egypt they should cease all transfers of arms and equipment that have been used to commit serious human rights violations in Egypt until effective safeguards against misuse are established, thorough and independent investigations are conducted and those responsible are brought to justice.”

What you can do:

  • Read the full report online here
  • Take part in Amnesty’s social media campaign using the hashtag #EndDisappearancesEgypt
  • Call on your government to stop the transfer of arms and security equipment to Egypt