If lives are in immediate danger, then lethal force is permissible. If not, it is not....

24 Feb 2008 | 535 words | border israel migration dead people

Since about a year i have been coming across reports of sub-saharan migrants getting shot by Egyptian border police when attempting to enter Israel from egypt. So far i have refrained from listing them as part of the noborder.org dead count because Israel is not really Europe (although they participate in the UEFA cup and the Eurovision song contest). Since the beginning of 2008 these incidents seem to have increased in frequency as noted by Amnesty International (UK):

On 19 February Egyptian security forces shot dead a Sudanese man trying to cross into Israel bringing the total to five. Security officials said 50-year-old Ermeniry Khasheef was shot in the back after he ignored orders to stop as he attempted to cross barbed wire near the border town of Rafah, in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.

Three days earlier, an Eritrean woman, Mervat Mer Hatover was shot dead after she ignored orders to stop as she was attempting to jump over the barbed wire in the El Kuntilla border region, in south-eastern Sinai Peninsula. […]

An Amnesty International spokesperson said: ‘We’re concerned that the Egyptian border police are disregarding their duty in opening fire on people who may have in no way presented an immediate threat to life. ‘The international standards are clear: if lives are in immediate danger, then lethal force is permissible. If not, it is not. ‘Desperate migrants should not be at the mercy of border guards who disregard basic international standards over using their weapons.’

On 30 January two migrants from Ivory Cost were shot and killed trying to cross the border south of Rafah. According to the Egyptian security forces, a 22-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman bled to death before an ambulance could reach them. […] On 19 January, another man from Ivory Cost bled to death after he was shot in the thigh at the border with Israel.

Of course these are not the only cases where lethal force is being used against migrants trying to enter relatively wealthy countries and it is sickening to see how the border guards of Egypt, Morocco and Turkey are doing the dirty work of the governments of the EU or Israel who could never justify their own border guards opening fire on migrants trying to enter their territories. As the amnesty spokesperson said: ‘if lives are in immediate danger, then lethal force is permissible. If not, it is not.’ Africans crossing a fence hardly can be seen as posing a danger to anyone except themselves.

And while we are talking about dangerous behavior involving Israeli borders, i was quite stunned to read a couple of days ago that there seem to be people engaging in drug smuggling across the Lebanese – Israeli border. This particular border, between to countries that are technically at war with each other and which is probably one of the most surveilled and unstable places on the entire planet does not really strike me as the best place to run a drug smuggling outfit (unless of course if the inhabitants of northern Israel decided that getting stoned is the best way to ignore the whacky predictions of Hassan Nasrallah and pay a premium for their red lebanese).