22/04/2012 - Child rights advocates are raising awareness of the rising number of children who are being abducted in Egypt; deteriorating security conditions means kidnapping an easy way for criminals to make money.
Egyptian child rights advocates are calling for tougher action against criminals and putting pressure on the government to take measures against rising child abductions across the country.
Their call for increasing pressures includes a larger police presence on the streets and laws that would increase punishments for those who violate children’s rights.They are threatening to resort to the UN if the government does not take action.
In an interview with IRIN, Secretary-general of the Egyptian Coalition on Children’s Rights, Hani Helal, stated that “The government does not attach enough importance to the problems suffered by children. This leads to increasing violations against the children. But if the government does not act now, we will have to take the matter to the UN.”
The pressure is rising with the noticeable rise in child abductions which has occured throughout the country. Security experts have claimed that child abducations have increased as much as threefold since a popular uprising ousted former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Security experts are claiming that the uprising has led to a weakening of the security conditions within the country, which leaves conditions for criminal operations to thrive.
The reason behind the increase in child abducations was revealed by Mahmud Al Badawi, head of the local NGO Egyptian Society for the Assistance of Juveniles and Human Rights, who claimes that child abductions in Egypt are closely related to organ trafficking.
Many security experts in the country say that kidnappers may be looking for a ransom from the parents of abducted children, but only if the kidnapped children’s parents are wealthy enough.
The police are advising parents not pay ransoms, and instead to report the kidnappings to police. But child rights activists say the police do not have a very good track record of arresting or prosecuting kidnappers.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), although children constitute 40% of Egypt’s population, their rights are still low on the priority list of social policies.