A group of Nubians staged a silent protest on Monday at Abu Simbel Sanctuary in Upper Egypt, coinciding with the biannual solar illumination of the statue of Pharaoh Ramses II.

The protest was targeted towards a recently ratified decree that declares several lands along the border as military territory, which in turn prevents Nubians from returning to the homelands.

The decree was issued in 2014 by President Abdel Fattah el Sisi and approved by the newly elected parliament in January 2016, despite article 236 in the new constitution of 2014 which compels the government to aid Nubians in their resettlement within the next ten years. 

Article 236 of the constitution reads as follows: “The state works on developing and implementing projects to bring back the residents of Nubia to their original areas and develop them within 10 years in the manner organized by law.”

 The head of Nubians’ Union, Mohamed Azmy, stated that declaring more than 18 villages as military territory is unconstitutional and unjust.

During the construction of the high dam in the 1960’s – under former president Gamal Abdel Nasser – many Nubians were relocated with compensation to other areas in the south and have been trying to return to their ancestral lands ever since.

The Nubians – having protested for their rights a number of times before – aim to show the world their desire to return to their ancestral land, and view it as their right.

*Information gathered from Egyptian Streets and Ahram Online
*Featured Image: Ahram Online