Remnants of a demolished home. © 2014 Private

(Beirut) – On May 28, 2019, Human Rights Watch released a report, “‘If You Are Afraid for Your Lives, Leave Sinai!’: Egyptian Security Forces and ISIS-Affiliate Abuses in North Sinai,” which details the serious abuses, including war crimes, Egyptian government forces and ISIS-affiliated militants have carried out in North Sinai.

Immediately following the report’s release, numerous pro-government Egyptian media outlets and commentators have instigated a smear campaign against Human Rights Watch, including directly threatening Human Rights Watch staff with serious physical harm.

“Instead of taking time to study the Human Rights Watch report about government abuses of civilians in Sinai, Egyptian authorities have flatly denied any wrongdoing and unleashed a vile media attack on human rights defenders and organizations," said Liesl Gerntholtz, acting deputy executive director for program at Human Rights Watch. “The Egyptian government should stop attacking the messenger and instead listen to Sinai residents’ grievances, investigate abuses, and allow evicted people to return to their homes as soon as the situation permits.”

Egypt: War Crimes in North Sinai

 Human Rights Watch’s two-year investigation documented crimes including mass arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, extrajudicial killings, and possibly unlawful air and ground attacks against civilians.