November 12, 2008

VI. Egyptian Treatment of Those Detained

Egyptian law prohibits entry or attempted exit from the country through any points other than designated border crossings, prescribing punishments of up to six months' imprisonment and a fine, or from two to five years' imprisonment and a fine where the crossing occurred in specially designated prohibited areas, also referred to as security zones.[179] In the Sinai, and on Egypt's border with Sudan, police have arrested hundreds of migrants in the past two years alone. A spokesperson for UNHCR Egypt confirmed that "the majority of [migrants] in detention now are [those] captured at borders."

People apprehended at the border and taken into detention face violations of their rights as criminal defendants, as refugees, and as detainees.

Use of Military Tribunals to Try Civilians

Most migrants and asylum seekers who are arrested in Cairo are tried before civilian courts and have access to UNHCR. However, migrants arrested for illegally entering Egypt at a non-authorized border crossing, or for attempting to enter the Sinai peninsula (a designated "security zone") without authorization, or for attempting to cross the border with Israel, fall within the jurisdiction of the nearest military tribunal. At least four Egyptian military tribunals try persons detained for crossing borders: in Aswan and Ghorgada (for irregular entries from Sudan); in Marsa Matroh (from Libya); and in Ismailiyya (those entering the Sinai military zone). These tribunals apply domestic Egyptian law.[180]The tribunals' rulings cannot be appealed.

Migrants are tried and sentenced in groups divided by gender. The authorities make no effort to try families together, and in many cases try and sentence as a group persons who did not attempt to cross the border at the same time. Refugees and migrants said their trials comprised two or three relatively brief hearings and that they were not asked their motives or their asylum status during the trial. While lawyers are present at trial hearings, refugees and migrants said their legal counsel tended to play a merely pro-forma role. "I was in jail for six months," said a Southern Sudanese woman who was arrested in June 2007 but who succeeded in crossing into Israel after her release. "The judge called us by name, and said, 'You tried to cross the border with Israel,' and our lawyer just said, 'Don't say yes, say no.'"[181]  Several former detainees complained that they paid lawyers to represent them but received merely pro-forma legal services.

Trying civilians in military tribunals violates Egypt's obligations to ensure the rights to due process and a fair trial under the ICCPR and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. Egypt is obliged to afford due process and a fair trial to migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees whom it detains for violating national laws by entering the country irregularly via unauthorized points on the Sudanese border, by illegally entering the Sinai peninsula, or by attempting to cross the border into Israel in an unauthorized manner. The ICCPR affirms that everyone has the right to be tried by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal established by law (article 14). As a state party to the ACHPR, Egypt has "the duty to guarantee the independence of the courts" (article 26).

The Human Rights Committee has stated that the trial of civilians by military courts should be very exceptional and occur only under conditions that genuinely afford full due process.[182] The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, the body created to monitor the implementation of the ACHPR, elaborated that "the only purpose of military courts shall be to determine offenses of a purely military nature committed by military personnel," and that "military courts should not, in any circumstances whatsoever, have jurisdiction over civilians."[183]

Separation of families

One consequence of the detention policy is family separation. In one case recounted to Human Rights Watch, Egyptian border police separated a woman from her husband shortly after arresting them in April 2007, taking them from the border to different prisons. "That was the last time I saw him," she told us, 11 months later.[184]

Specifically with regard to minors who are refugees or asylum seekers, UNHCR's Executive Committee (ExCom) has called upon states "to respect and observe … the principle of the best interests of the child and the role of the family as the fundamental group of society.[185]  The ExCom further "[urged] States and concerned parties to take all possible measures to protect child and adolescent refugees, inter alia, by: (i) preventing separation of children … refugees from their families."[186]

Before their cases come before military tribunals for trial, mothers are detained with any accompanying minor children (see below). The military tribunals typically sentence women to about six months and men to around one year in prison for illegally entering Egypt or attempting to cross illegally into Israel, in addition to fines of around 2,000 Egyptian pounds (LE). According to numerous former detainees, the tribunals order the release of mothers with their children, although it appears that compliance with such orders is not always immediate: "When my husband was sentenced," N.A. said, "the judge said [my child and I] could go free. But after that they took the women back to the same prison and we had to stay there for another 45 days!"[187]

The humane policy of releasing mothers with children does not apply to fathers arrested with their children. Hadja Abbas Haroun, the pregnant woman killed on July 22, 2007, was survived by a daughter who is now three years old, and by a husband who is now serving a one-year jail sentence. A relative of Haroun told Human Rights Watch that he managed to attend her husband's military trial in Ismailiyya. "As soon as they killed the mom they took the child and the father to prison. But they separated her from her dad, and she was staying in jail with three other women in al-Arish. At the court, that was the first time her father had seen her."[188] The experience of detention, evidently in a regular jail cell with prisoners to whom she was not related, took a toll on the girl's health. "After [she had been] a week in jail," Haroun's relative continued, "I saw the girl in court and she looked really sick." Two days later, at a second hearing, the military tribunal sentenced the father to jail and a 2,000 LE fine, and allowed the relative to bring the girl home with him. "She had stomach problems, she was throwing up," he said.

And she was really hot, her skin had blisters-they were all over her body, but [worst] on her head. For a few days she wasn't speaking, she was just crying. If we hadn't got her she might have died. The Egyptians were just giving her bread but she hadn't been eating. I asked the women she was with in jail if she'd ever been taken to hospital and they said no.

Since her release, the relative added, "she wakes up at midnight two or three times a week and starts screaming."[189]

Egypt is obliged, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to ensure the rights of children to family unity: "[A] child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will," according to the CRC, "except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child."[190] Where children are separated, Egypt is obliged to "respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis," and, in cases where these countries have detained, imprisoned, or killed one or both of a child's parents, to, "upon request, provide the parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family."[191]

Denial of Access to Asylum Procedures

In Egypt, asylum seekers and refugees detained in security zones benefit from a lesser degree of international protection than those detained elsewhere. In general, if a registered asylum seeker or refugee is detained on grounds related to her immigration status in a non-security zone (such as Cairo) and she informs Egyptian authorities that she is under UNHCR's protection, the authorities will verify her claim with UNHCR, and will release her (although State Security Investigations retains the final authority to decide on the release).[192] If the detainee has not yet registered with UNHCR, the Egyptian government will contact the detainee's embassy to arrange for deportation, but in the interim the detainee can ask the Egyptian authorities to contact UNHCR, or can usually contact legal aid NGOs, community leaders, or relatives and ask them to do so on her behalf. Lawyers, relatives and migrant community members can ask to visit such detainees in detention, although Egyptian authorities denied access to Eritreans in detention from late February 2008 until forcibly returning hundreds to Eritrea in June.[193]

It is significantly more difficult for asylum seekers, refugees, and other migrants detained in designated security zones to invoke international protection. In practice, such detainees may be visited only exceptionally. According to former detainees, military tribunals do not ask detainees about their asylum status; rather, at some point during their detention, state security agents determine whether detainees have registered with UNHCR as asylum seekers or refugees. After they have served their sentences, those who have so registered are released, but those who have not are deported.[194] A Darfuri woman who was detained at the Sinai border said,

State security, who took our passport and UNHCR numbers, told us that if we tried to cross the border again they'd put us in jail for three years and then deport us. We went to the Mugamma [an administrative headquarters in downtown Cairo], and they released those of us with UNHCR cards. But they told two women, "We're going to send you back." The women had never gone to UNHCR. They were from Darfur too, but they were only in Egypt for two months.[195]

Persons who have not yet registered for asylum with UNHCR and who are detained at  Egypt's borders therefore face the risk of being deported without ever having an opportunity to present asylum claims. As Michael Kagan, senior fellow in human rights law at the American University in Cairo, put it,

There has never been any solid system to ensure that UNHCR was contacted by the government of Egypt when someone in detention makes asylum claims. … There's a big gap in terms of those who may be unable to have their asylum status determined. UNHCR would only find out you existed if you were allowed to make a phone call.[196]

Detained migrants who manage to contact UNHCR often do so despite, rather than with the assistance of, Egyptian prison authorities. A refugee lawyer told Human Rights Watch that according to some of his clients, "It's only by chance that [detained migrants] can get their case in front of UNHCR. On their trips to security outside of jail, they have to bribe cops to let them make calls to their relatives or to have them contact immigration."[197]An Ethiopian who volunteers to visit detained migrants in Cairo said he advised Eritrean and Ethiopian detainees that in case of emergency they should bribe Egyptian prisoners, who are allowed mobile phones, to make contact with him for them.[198]

This volunteer told Human Rights Watch that he had been involved in the case of an unaccompanied Ethiopian boy, whose age he estimated at 10 or 12, whom Egyptian authorities had deported without allowing him the opportunity to make an asylum claim. The volunteer said that he had visited the boy after he had been transferred to detention in Cairo:

The boy was arrested at Aswan, when he crossed the border from Sudan. He said his father was dead, and he didn't know where his mother was. He told me his journey was seven days by foot-people who take that route go to the Nile to get water, they walk at night, sleep during the day, with barely anything to eat. He was sent back [to Ethiopia] in October 2007. We haven't heard from him since. I wanted to talk to him before he left. I learned the flight time from a man in the Ethiopian embassy and I went to the airport, but the police refused to let me see him.[199]

A spokesperson for UNHCR Egypt told Human Rights Watch that "we learn about those in detention from the Egyptian government." This official stressed that the Egyptian government "is cooperative in telling us about illegal Eritrean entrants."[200] Egypt's deputy minister for refugees told Human Rights Watch that his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends "dozens of faxes" per day to UNHCR regarding migrants and asylum seekers detained at the borders.[201]

Nonetheless, in late February 2008, Egyptian authorities refused UNHCR access to detained Eritreans. In March 2008, Egyptian lawyers told Human Rights Watch, over 280 Eritreans and Ethiopians were known to be detained in Burj al-Arab prison in Alexandria.[202] In May, an Egyptian community-based NGO, compiling various lists, put the figure at 400 Eritrean detainees. Egyptian authorities reportedly transferred hundreds of Eritrean detainees to military detention centers in May, a move human rights and refugee lawyers feared was a prelude to mass deportations.[203] By June, UNHCR had collected the names of 1,400 Eritreans detained at various sites throughout Egypt.[204] From June 12 to June 15, Egypt reportedly deported 690 Eritreans on special Egyptair flights from the Shallal detention facility in Aswan governorate to Massawa, Eritrea.[205] In total, Egypt may have deported 1,200 Eritreans from June 12 to 19.[206]Human Rights Watch spoke with Egyptian and Eritrean human rights advocates who said they received frantic phone calls from detainees being rounded up and put on trucks.[207] A lawyer with the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, who was based in Aswan, said detainees pleaded with Egyptian guards and threatened to commit suicide before being forcibly deported.[208]

Conditions of Detention

Inadequate medical care

S.G., from Southern Sudan, was captured after Egyptian border police shot and wounded her husband and her 13-month-old son. The family was taken to hospital in al-Arish for 12 days, then to prison.[209] S.G. has not seen her husband since. There may be many wounded migrants in Egyptian jails like S.G.'s husband. A Washington Post reporter described how one migrant carried another, whose legs had been shattered by bullets, into an Egyptian courtroom, where the judge sentenced both men to a year in prison and a fine for attempting to cross the border.[210]

Migrants and refugees who are seriously wounded at the Sinai border face special risks in detention in Egypt. In some cases the wounded faced initial delays in receiving medical care, such as when border police detained a group of 16 migrants, including five who were shot at the border, reportedly from 4 a.m. to noon in a police station before transferring the wounded to a hospital.[211] After treating them in hospitals, authorities subsequently transfer the wounded to prisons where it is difficult to receive further medical care. A Sudanese community leader told Human Rights Watch of one case where, he said, a man had died from wounds inflicted by border guards after prison authorities denied him adequate medical care. "They shot Yusuf in May 2007," said the community leader, who had visited the man later that month.

No doctor took care of him in jail. It was in Port Said. The jail there is very bad. They give them three pieces of bread every morning at 10 a.m. and that's it. He died about a month after he was shot. There was no medicine. They took the body back to Sudan.[212]

A former detainee told Human Rights Watch of a girl who appeared to need medical care but did not receive it in detention. "There was a girl, around 12 years old, who'd been shot in the shoulder at the border," he said, "but they never let her go back to the hospital."[213] Other former detainees recalled several cellmates who had been wounded by border police gunfire. "She had been shot twice in the leg and once in the shoulder," a woman recalled of a cellmate.[214] A man remembered that during his time in an Egyptian prison, "I saw someone who had been shot in his stomach and someone else who'd been shot in the foot, and another [who'd been shot] in the calf."[215]

Conditions for women detained with their children pretrial

M., a young mother arrested at the Sinai border, said she was kept in a small cell with 14 other women. "We all got sick. We got only one meal a day. Children got the same food. When I asked for anything else for the children they laughed at me."[216] An Eritrean woman, G.F., was a detainee at the Merkaz al-Nasser facility, known as "Nuba Aswan," when she spoke with Human Rights Watch by telephone in March 2008, and said she shared a cell with 13 other people, of whom four were children, including her own boys, ages 4 and 2. "There is not enough food," she told us, "and the guards threatened that we would be deported because we are not Muslims."[217] Another woman, F.A., said her two young children were the only ones in a small, dirty jail cell they shared with 18 or 20 other inmates. "There was nowhere to put my children down, and the toilet was in the corner. The room was probably three meters [square], it was really small. The toilet [a hole in the ground] was right there, we had to sleep lying on top of it."[218]

Egyptian authorities have refused to allow volunteers seeking to improve grim conditions of detention access to detained women and children. An Ethiopian man who volunteers to bring food and medicine to Eritrean and Ethiopian detainees transferred from the Sinai to Qanatir prison, outside Cairo, said prison authorities there refused to allow him access to a new mother and a pregnant woman.

We knew of two girls who were arrested at the border, one was pregnant, one had just given birth. So we took food, milk, baby clothes. And they wouldn't let us in. I know that the people who try to cross into Israel are breaking the law. But the Egyptian government should treat them better in jail, or let us visit them and give them food.[219]

Human Rights Watch could find no evidence that Egypt has taken steps to ensure the health or other special needs of detained migrants and refugee children are met, in violation of its international obligations.[220] Failure to provide prisoners, including children in detention, with adequate food violates Rule 20 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.[221]

Detention of unaccompanied children with adults

Human Rights Watch learned of cases where Egyptian authorities detained children who had attempted to cross into or out of the country irregularly, in ordinary jails with adult prisoners in conditions that did not appear to meet the "best interests of the child" principle articulated by ExCom (see above),[222] and specifically breached the prohibition in international law on detaining children with adults. In one case recounted to Human Rights Watch in March, two unaccompanied Eritrean boys, ages 13 and 11, whose mother had died in a car accident shortly after entering Egypt, had been detained for roughly a month in the "Nuba Aswan" facility.[223] A July press release from UNHCR mentioned the same two boys, still detained.[224]

In another case, an Eritrean interpreter for UNHCR Egypt told Human Rights Watch that in February 2008 Egyptian guards had killed an Eritrean woman named Mervat Mer Hatover at the Israeli border.[225] The woman was known to be traveling with two girls, but the interpreter said that a month after they were presumably arrested, "no one knows where her girls are."[226] There is reason to fear that other unaccompanied children who have been detained at either the Sudanese or Israeli borders may be "lost" in the Egyptian prison system. According to Mokhlis Qutb, secretary-general of Egypt's quasi-official National Human Rights Council, many prison officials habitually fail to register both Egyptian and foreign detainees in their custody.[227]

Detaining children with adults violates Egypt's obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and under refugee law. Egypt is obliged to ensure that "every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interest not to do so."[228] States must also protect detained children from the serious risk of abuse by guards and other prisoners, including sexual abuse.

[179]Presidential Decree-Law No. 89 for 1960, Entry and Residence of Aliens in the Territories of the United Arab Republic and Their Departure Therefrom, arts. 3, 41.

[180] Ibid.

[181]Human Rights Watch interview with R.A., Eilat, March 3, 2008. Although there were three hearings in her case, "the lawyer waited until the third time, after six months, to take the birth certificate for my youngest son to the judge. And that same day they let me out."As  discussed below, Egyptian military tribunals tend to release mothers detained with their children.

[182] UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 13: Equality before the courts and the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent court established by law (art. 14), April 13, 1984, (accessed September 28, 2008), para. 4,

[183]African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial in Africa, art. L (a), (c), reproduced at (accessed September 28, 2008).

[184] Human Rights Watch interview with S.G., March 12, 2008. A military tribunal ordered the woman's release after roughly one month in detention because her twin infants had been arrested with her at the border (see below for a discussion of the policy whereby mothers detained with young children are released).

[185]UNHCR ExCom Conclusion No. 84 (XLVIII) – 1997: "Refugee Children and Adolescents," para. (a)(i)-(iii). The ExCom has also "reaffirmed the fundamental right of refugee children to education and called upon all States, individually and collectively, to intensify their efforts … to ensure that all refugee children benefit from primary education of a satisfactory quality." Conclusion No. 47 (XXXVIII) – 1987: "Refugee Children," para. (o).

[186]UNHCR ExCom Conclusion no. 84 (XLVIII), para. (b).

[187]Human Rights Watch interview with N.A., October 6th City, March 11, 2008.

[188]Human Rights Watch interview with H.A., Cairo, March 16, 2008.


[190]CRC, art. 9(1).

[191]Ibid., art. 9 (3)-(4).

[192]For example, for not having either a national identity card or a residency permit stamped on his or her passport or UNHCR card.

[193]Human Rights Watch interviews with lawyers with refugee service NGOs, UNHCR official, and Ethiopian refugee volunteer (names withheld), Cairo and October 6th City, March 10-16, 2008.

[194]Human Rights Watch interview with Michael Kagan, March 10, 2008. A refugee elaborated on her own experience of these procedures as follows: "A police officer [at the Immigration Department at the Mugamma administrative building in Cairo] had our names and information and read it out. They checked to see whether we had UN numbers. The people without any were sent back to Sudan. I knew someone from Abyei who tried to cross the border with me and was caught with me, but her UN file had been closed.… They brought her and me and her husband to Mugamma [a large administrative building in downtown Cairo that houses Ministry of Interior and other offices] together. Then they sent me back to jail but sent her to Sudan. They said they were going to. I heard from her relatives she had been sent back." Human Rights Watch interview with R.B., Eilat, March 3, 2008.

[195]Human Rights Watch interview with F.A., Cairo, March 15, 2008.

[196]Human Rights Watch interview with Michael Kagan, March 10, 2008.

[197]Human Rights Watch interview with N. C., refugee lawyer , Cairo, March 12, 2008.

[198]Human Rights Watch interview with Y.Z., Cairo, March 13, 2008.

[199] Ibid.

[200]Human Rights Watch interview with UNHCR Egypt spokesperson, March 11, 2008.

[201] Human Rights Watch interview with Tareq Maaty, March 16, 2008.

[202]Human Rights Watch interviews with J.R. and S.L., Cairo, March 10, and O.A., Eritrean Pentecostal pastor, Cairo, March 17, 2008.

[203] Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Elsa Chyrum, May 28, 2008, and Egyptian human rights and refugee lawyers (names withheld), May 2008.

[204] "UNHCR interviews 179 Eritrean asylum seekers detained in Egypt," UNHCR press release.

[205]Amnesty International, "Egypt: Forcible return/ Fear of torture or other ill treatment: Up to 900 Eritrean asylum-seekers," AI Index: MDE 12/013/2008, June 16, 2008, (accessed October 3, 2008).

[206]Cynthia Johnston, "UN in frank talks with Egypt on Eritrea refugees," Reuters, June 30, 2008.

[207]Human Rights Watch phone calls and email correspondence with Elsa Chyrum, Human Rights Concern Eritrea; Dr. Khataza Gondwe, advocacy officer, Christian Solidarity Worldwide; Michael Kagan, senior fellow in human rights law, American University in Cairo; and Cairo-based refugee lawyer (name withheld), June 2008.

[208] Amnesty International, "Egypt: Amnesty calls for President to stop flights to possible torture in Eritrea," June 20, 2008, AI Index: MDE 12/014/2008, (accessed October 3, 2008); Sarah Carr, "One African shot at border, deportations continue," Daily News Egypt, June 19, 2008, (accessed June 19, 2008).

[209]Human Rights Watch interview with S.G., Cairo, March 12, 2008.

[210]Knickmeyer, "Flight from Darfur Ends Violently in Egypt," Washington Post.

[211] Human Rights Watch interview with N.A., October 6th City, March 11, 2008.

[212] Human Rights Watch interview with Madhal Aguer Guot Chol March 16, 2008.

[213] Human Rights Watch interview with L.B., October 6th City, March 11, 2008.

[214]Human Rights Watch interview with F.A., Cairo, March 15, 2008.

[215] Human Rights Watch interview with H.K., Cairo, March 13, 2008.

[216] Human Rights Watch interview with N.A., March 11, 2008.

[217]Human Rights Watch telephone interview with F.T., March 17, 2008.

[218] Human Rights Watch interview with F.A., March 15, 2008.

[219]Human Rights Watch interview with Y.Z., Cairo, March 13, 2008.

[220]See "Background," Section III, above.

[221] Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, adopted Aug. 30, 1955 by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, U.N. Doc. A/CONF/611, annex I, E.S.C. res. 663C, 24 U.N. ESCOR Supp. (No. 1) at 11, U.N. Doc. E/3048 (1957), amended E.S.C. res. 2076, 62 U.N. ESCOR Supp. (No. 1) at 35, U.N. Doc. E/5988 (1977).

[222] ExCom Conclusion No. 84 (XLVIII) 1997: "Refugee Children and Adolescents," para. (a):  ExCom [c]alls upon States … "to respect and observe … (i) the principle of the best interests of the child and the role of the family as the fundamental group of society … (ii) the fundamental right of children … to life, liberty, security of person, and freedom from torture … (iii) the right of children … to education, adequate food and the highest attainable standard of health; para (b)"Urges States and concerned parties to take all possible measures to protect child and adolescent refugees, inter alia, by: (i) preventing separation of children … refugees from their families (ii) safeguarding the physical security of refugee children … [and] (iv) providing appropriate training to military personnel … on human rights and humanitarian protections to which children … are entitled." The ExCom has also "reaffirmed the fundamental right of refugee children to education and called upon all States, individually and collectively, to intensify their efforts … to ensure that all refugee children benefit from primary education of a satisfactory quality." Conclusion No. 47 (XXXVIII)  1987: "Refugee Children," para. (o).

[223]A religious leader in the Eritrean community in Cairo had learned of the boys' case when another prisoner called him and said he and 18 other men were being detained in the same jail cell, around 3 meters square, with the two boys. The boys' mother had died in a car accident in Aswan after crossing the border from Sudan; the brothers had no family members in Egypt. Human Rights Watch interview with O.A., Cairo, March 17, 2008. Human Rights Watch also spoke with an Eritrean woman, G.F., who said she had was a detainee in the same jail, and that she knew of the two children. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with F.T., March 17, 2008.

[224]"UNHCR Interviews 179 Eritrean asylum seekers detained in Egypt," UNHCR press release, July 2, 2008, (accessed October 3, 2008). The press release identifies the detention center as the Shalal facility in Aswan, where the children had evidently been transferred.

[225] Media reports confirm the woman's death at the border. See, for example, Ashraf Sweilam, "Egyptian Guards Kill Eritrean Migrant," Associated Press, February 16, 2008.

[226]The girls were 10 and 8 years old, according to the interpreter, who said the woman's husband had contacted him. Human Rights Watch interview with B.T., Cairo, March 16, 2008.

[227]Human Rights Watch interview with Mokhlis Qutb, secretary-general of the National Human Rights Council, Cairo, March 17, 2008.

[228]CRC, art. 37 (c)-(e). Similarly, according to the UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, Egypt should provide "every means" to ensure juveniles "have adequate communication with the outside world, which is an integral part of the right to fair and humane treatment," including allowing them "to communicate with their families, friends and other persons or representatives of reputable outside organizations," to "receive regular and frequent visits, in principle once a week and not less than once a month," and "to communicate in writing or by telephone at least twice a week with the person of his or her choice … [and] to receive correspondence." United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, adopted December 14, 1990, G.A. res. 45/113, annex, 45 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49A) at 205, U.N. Doc. A/45/49 (1990), arts. 59-61.