National and international rights organisations and groups, along with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), have documented hundreds of enforced disappearance cases over the past few years in Egypt. However, their accusations and documentations were met with negligence and denial from Egyptian authorities and security agencies.
When authorities decide to give a concrete response to these accusations, they say that these groups are politically motivated. They further stress that all allegedly disappeared people are either detained pending trials, or they completely deny knowing any information regarding their whereabouts.
The latest report that was issued by Amnesty International on enforced disappearance in Egypt, entitled “Officially, you do not exist”, detailed the circumstances under which several people were abducted and testimonies that prove the involvement of security agencies in their disappearance. However, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to comment on the report as they said Amnesty acts according to a political agenda.
Amnesty’s report also said Egypt is following a systematic plan and targets specific groups in enforced disappearance, including Muslim Brotherhood members, political activists, academics, students, and peaceful critics.
To counter the phenomenon, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) launched an application that allows those in danger to send an SOS message if they are arrested and facing potential enforced disappearance.
Earlier this year, Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar said in an interview that Egypt has zero enforced disappearance cases and the Interior Ministry collaborates with the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) to investigate related reports.
According to human rights entities, about 1,411 cases of enforced disappearances have occurred during 2015. In 2016, El Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence has documented hundreds of cases in its monthly reports throughout 2016.
In the name of counter-terrorism efforts, security agencies in Egypt have cracked down on dissent, abducting, torturing, and forcibly disappearing them to intimidate the regime’s opponents, according to Amnesty International.