Cairo, February 3, 2013 – Statement by: Egyptian Coalition for the Rights of the Child
Between the Ministy of Interior and the political forces, our children are the victims of political exploitation and violence. The Egyptian Coalition for the Rights of the Child has been monitoring violations against children in Egypt during the recent events which the country has witnessed in the absence of governmental stability.
It has been noted, in this report, like others before it, that since the revolution, children have been used and then held fully accountable for the inability of the state and its institutions to find the real culprits behind the events, starting with the events at Institut d'Égypte, The Minitry of of Interior, the People’s Assembly and Mohammed Mahmoud, Abbaseya, and Port Said Stadium massare etc.
During the recent events that took place in different parts of Egypt and around the Presidential Palace since 25 January 2013, the legal unit of the coalition has noted the numerous violations suffered by children; from the initial placement of them in events and the failure of the State to protect them and keep them away from sources of risk to which they may be subjected, which is in accordance to Child Law "1". Instead, they are subjeted to all forms of violence, which amount to torture during their arrest and there is huge difficulty proving these injuries they have suffered for the lack of readiness of forensic reports.
Violations have occurred from arrest to detension for some children who have not yet completed 15 years of age, and decisions to remand them in custody is a violation of the text of the article "119" of the Children's Act, the detention of children with adults, which exposes them to all forms of violations by these adults and are attracting them to the criminal world is in violation of Article "112" of the same law as well as the text of Article 73 of the new constitution!
The Legal Unit also reports that children were presented to the prosecutor after their arrest up to four days later which is in violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure, as well as a number of children presented to the Public Prosecution rather than juvinile prosecutors which is an abuse of the text of the article "122" of the Children's Act !!! Children were sent back and forth between five different public prosecutors located in different places, thereby hindering the right of children to the presence of lawyers specialized in thier defense.
We have filed a complaint to the Attorney General regarding the detention of minors with adults, and not sending them to prosecutors in the legal time limit, this is a criminal offence with a a penalty of up to imprisonment and a fine for each public official committed of the offence.
At the time of writing this report, the number of child victims has reached 83 children who have the following charges filed against them, such as: "unlawful assembly – distrupting public transportation – assualting civil servants - the use of force and possession weapons and thuggary – intruding on the state institutions - and preventing the course of justice – assaulting and resisting police officers using tools Etc., these are the same accusations that are directed to adults in such events which can not be carried out by children. These are charges which have been prepared. The public prosecutor is ignoring the rights of these children to stand trial before prosecutors and special courts for children or their rights to be granted judicial protection and treatment of children protected by the Egyptian Child Law, which allows the use of clemency and downgrading one or two degrees of the charges in line with being sympathetic to the age and circumstances of the child.
Egyptian Coalition for the Rights of the Child confirms and asks for the following:
• The full refusal of using Egypt’s children in any political events and placing them at the scenes, which is one of the worst forms of exploitation and violence against children and violates the new constitution, which we still oppose and demand that it be amended due to the inability of texts to protect the rights of our children and we take the current events as the greatest example to that.
• The full responsibility of the state, represented in all official institutions for not taking preventative action or an effort to provide protection for the children to keep them away from the source of risk which leads them to participate in the events.
• We call on to the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior for all injuries and violations against our children since their arrest and not to deal with them as criminals acting against the law.
• We appeal for Egyptian society from all walks life, of political and governmental institutions, and non-governmental organisations to work on the immediate cessation of the exploitation of children during the events witnessed by the country's current political situation and to come to a consensus on the mechanisms whereby they can accommodate the angry energies of children in a transitional age of adolescence summoning all efforts to rehabilitate and reintegrate the children into the wider community.