September 8, 2017
On 3 September 2017, approximately 24 demonstrators including human rights defenders Mohamed Azmy and Maysara Abdoun were arrested at a peaceful protest to campaign for the rights of the Nubian population. The demonstrators are currently detained in the Aswan Central Security Camp in Shalal.
Mohamed Azmy is a lawyer and human rights defender and is currently President of the General Nubian Union, based in Aswan. He advocates for the land rights of Nubian people and fair resettlement to their historical homeland in the south of Egypt. The General Nubian Union in Aswan is a recently founded movement that actively promotes the right to return of the Nubian community to their ancestral land. The Nubian people were subjected to forced displacement as a result of various government-led projects such as the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s.
Maysara Abdoun is a Nubian human rights defender actively involved in the defence of minority and Nubian rights in the Aswan governorate. He is the training coordinator at Border Center for Support & Consulting (BSC), an organisation led by a group of youth with experience in community development and human rights.
The protest held on 3 September 2017 included a peaceful march and the singing of traditional songs on the occasion of Eid al-Adha in order to campaign for the Nubians’ ‘right of return’ as guaranteed by article 236 of the 2014 Egyptian Constitution. The demonstration was scheduled for 3.00 pm in the centre of Aswan. However, due to the presence of security forces, it was relocated to the square of Midan Al-Guzzayra. At Midan Al-Guzzayra, the demonstrators were met by eight security vehicles and two military tanks. Armed police reportedly physically assaulted protestors and arrested approximately 24 individuals, including human rights defenders Mohammad Azmi and Maysara Abdoun. The human rights defenders are facing charges of ‘disrupting public order’ and ‘inciting protest’. The demonstrators are currently detained in the Aswan Central Security Camp in Shalal.
UPDATES, September 9, 2017: