Sinai schools turned into military bases by the Egyptian Army

Written by Ivel Sestopal


The right to education of children is being compromised by the Egyptian forces. It has been announced by several media and rights groups that the Egyptian military has taken approximately 37 schools and transformed them into bases.[i] This is presumed to be one of their main actions to create pressure on militants affiliated with the Islamist State group in a 10-year war. The testimonies along with witnessing and satellite images created evidence of these intrusions. Not only were the schools were taken but also the opportunity of hundreds of children to have access to their human right to education is being taken away.

The background of this fight can be seen since 2011 when the Egyptian revolution took place, and Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president was overthrown in a military coup in which Egyptian forces battled an Islamic State insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula. This created not only a heavy economic crisis but also a deeply divided nation. In 2013 Gen Abdel Fatah al-Sisi replaced Morsi and Egypt entered a period of temporary stability through military use and with several prisoner camps in which the military wanted to search any Morsi or Muslim supporters, but the civilians continued expressing their discomfort. This escalated in August 2013 when the army and security forces attacked a manifestation in Plaza Rabaa al – Adayiya and killed over 1,000 Morsi supporters along with massive trials and sentences for those arrested. They also prohibited the Islamic Movement and declared it a terrorist organization by the government.[ii]

These attacks have continued for 10 years, perpetrating attacks in civilian places but evading truistical ones to evade global attention. This new attack on schools was with the idea to use schools as sniper bases due to schools being two or three stories high and the use of the radio towers to use as a sort of fort with bricks built in the surrounding area according to the Guardian.[iii]

The problem with this besides the lack of infrastructure for schools is that the children are forced to end their education as there is no replacement institutions offered in place to the ones being occupied by the military, a lack of organization of the government to relocate them but also because the political attention is focused on the crimes and military actions. It is heartbreaking to see how easy it is to break a blackboard and desks when they represent tools for education and resources for the future of the children which we can comment have nothing to do with the political situation of their country, when “a growing body of international law and UN security council resolutions have led to a consensus that schools should be protected from military use during armed conflict.”[iv]

Besides the great gravity of the Egyptian military actions against civil society and the ongoing war between them, we cannot expect coherence of actions when a democratically elected government was changed by one through a coup d’état. It is a much more complex problem since there are several parties involved who pull the force of power or armed or contracted groups or even international interests. What is clear is the violation of human rights that has been done to the citizens and even more important to the children who become victims of this misuse of power.



[i] Holmes, O. (2023). Egyptian army has turned Sinai schools into military bases, says rights group. The Guardian. Retrieved from:

[ii] Al Tahhan, Z. (2018). Egyptian society being crushed five years after military coup. Aljazeera Retrieved from:

[iii] Holmes, O. (2023). Egyptian army has turned Sinai schools into military bases, says rights group. The Guardian. Retrieved from:

[iv] Middle East Observer. (2023). Egypt: Army turned Sinai schools into military bases, says Watchdog. Retrieved from:

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