The police are using street children for political gains, said the Egyptian Foundation for Advancement of the Childhood Condition (EFACC) in a press statement on Wednesday.
The EFACC said the police were guilty of detaining children and telling the public that they had captured “armed gangs” and other agents creating unrest. The group noted that there were ongoing investigations for approximately 40 children, who had been rounded up in different parts of Cairo, mostly for homelessness and begging.
The organisation said that the Interior Ministry was doing this as supposedly preventive measures to keep the children from involvement with worse crimes, but pointed out that such measures would do nothing to curtail crime. The EFACC said that instead the ministry should instead hand the children over to institutions who could provide alternate care and reduce the chances of the children returning to a life on the streets.
The statement argued that a vast majority of cases in which children are presented to prosecution was laden with procedural errors and said that instead of exposing children to further risk, they should be provided with social protection by groups already engaging with the issue.
The EFACC also said that the forensic report for Omar Salah, the 12 year-old sweet potato vendor had still not arrived to the prosecution. Salah was killed earlier this month in the vicinity of Tahrir Square. The Armed Force claimed responsibility for the death, claiming it was accidental, and that the army personnel responsible was detained and would be subject to legal proceedings.