Children at Al-Sayeda Zeinab Orphanage subjected to torture
Azza el-Ashmawy - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) received complaints on its child helpline that minors at Al-Sayeda Zeinab orphanage were being tortured, Azza al-Ashmawy, the council’s head, told Youm7 Thursday.

During the past couple of days, information had been circulating on social media networks that children at Al-Sayeda Zeinab Orphanage were being subjected to torture and abuse.

Ashmawy said the complaints were compiled into a report that was referred to the Attorney General and the Minister of Solidarity to take necessary measures.

The NCCM also filed a complaint to the Ministry of Interior, Ashmawy told Youm7 Friday.

Minister of Solidarity Ghada Wally said legal procedures against the orphanage would be taken and that it was necessary to revoke its license, according to a Friday press release issued by the ministry.

Wally added that all the children at the orphanage were transferred to an organization, affiliated to the Orman Charity Association, adding that the ministry formed a committee to take necessary procedures against the orphanage’s board of directors.

“I received a message Wednesday morning on Facebook with pictures and the orphanage’s address,” Wally said Thursday on CBC TV channel, adding that a committee had been sent to the orphanage and found that the children “were not well.”

“We sent the children to another orphanage, informed the police, and took necessary procedures to inspect the organization that the orphanage is affiliated to,” Wally said.

According to a Thursday statement by the Ministry of Solidarity, a team sent to investigate torture claims did not find torture marks on children.

Nevertheless, Ashmawy told Youm7 Saturday that a team from the child helpline headed to the orphanage and found the children there “weak with burns and scars on their hands and faces.”

Ashmawy added that the orphanage supervisor claimed the marks were due to one of the minors “using an ointment that causes such burns and scarring.”

The General Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations doesn’t have the right to interfere or investigate claims of torture taking place in Al-Sayeda Zeinab orphanage, Talaat Abdel Qawy, the head of the federation, said Saturday.

Qawy told Youm7 that the Ministry of Solidarity’s administrative department is responsible for investigating any violations at any organization, adding that the decision of the ministry is then referred to the federation so it can evaluate its adequacy.

The federation’s role, after approving the penalty issued against the orphanage, is to transfer the children to a different orphanage.

Additional reporting by Mohamed Mahsoub and Medhat Wahba.

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