The Egyptian government has detained more than 1,500 Syrian refugees and has forcibly deported some refugees back to Syria, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said [press release] Monday. The refugees were detained after trying to migrate by boat to Europe in order to escape the Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder]. In the press release, HRW noted that Palestinians from Syria have been exceptionally vulnerable to indefinite detention, and called on Egypt to allow the UN to protect these refugees: "Egypt is leaving hundreds of Palestinians from Syria with no protection from Syria's killing fields except indefinite detention in miserable conditions. Egypt should immediately release those being held and allow UNHCR to give them the protection they are due under international law." HRW also urged Egypt to compensate those who have been detained and hold the officials who ordered the detention of Syrian refugees accountable.
The Syrian Civil War has been ongoing since 2011 when opposition groups first began protesting the regime of Assad. Last week JURIST Guest Columnist Leslie Esbrook opined [JURIST op-ed] that an international war crimes prosecution would not end the ongoing conflict in Syria. In September the UN called for [JURIST report] an end to weapons being supplied to both Syria's government and rebels. Rights groups accused [JURIST report] the Syrian government of responsibility for August 21 chemical weapon attacks, which allegedly involved the use of sarin nerve gas. Syria's main opposition group in August urged the UN [JURIST report] to probe numerous massacres they say were committed during Ramadan by forces loyal to Assad. JURIST Guest Columnist Paul Juzdan argues [JURIST op-ed] that even if the UN Security Council decides to intervene in Syria, unilateral intervention would violate international law; a dilemma which, as discussed by JURIST Guest Columnist Patricio Galella, exposes the weakness [JURIST op-ed] of of the UN system of collective security.