Between October 31, 2021, and the date of publication of this facts report, the Refugees Platform in Egypt (RPE) documented the Egyptian authorities’ violation of the principle of non-refoulement and the forcible deportation of at least 70 Eritrean asylum seekers to Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, including women, children and patients. The authorities deported asylum seekers to Asmara on five separate flights despite the confirmed danger to their lives. According to families’ testimonies about the fate of their children since the time of their deportation, some of them were sent to compulsory military service after their return, while some fled again from Eritrea to Sudan, and no news came of others and disappeared without a trace. Eritrea continues to suffer from a horrific human rights crisis and returnees face inhuman treatment, persecution, torture and forced conscription for life.
The forcible returns of Eritrean asylum seekers were carried out after they were arbitrarily detained in Egypt for periods ranging from a few months to two years in poor detention conditions unsuitable for pregnant women, children, or the sick. People were detained and deported after they attempted to irregularly enter Egypt with the aim of seeking asylum. Deported former detainees faced a lack of adequate medical care, inadequate and poor quality food for children, denial of legal defense and no access to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) asylum procedures in the country. Currently detained asylum seekers face the same illegal and inhumane detention conditions, in addition to the threat of forcible deportation.
The following report presents the total documented forced deportations of Eritrean asylum seekers between October 2021 and May 2022. The report includes an explanation of the pattern/methodology of the Egyptian authorities in cooperation with the Eritrean Embassy in Cairo followed in the deportations, the number of deportees in each process, and their age and gender classifications (in those deportations where age classifications were documented). The report also contains a description of the violations that occurred against asylum seekers during their detention in Egypt until the time of their deportation, and the attempts of Egyptian authorities to conceal the facts about their forced deportations. The report ends with recommendations for the Egyptian government and authorities.
- Detention of asylum seekers for entering Egypt irregularly
- Arbitrary detention in bad and inhuman conditions
- Exposure to health risks with restricted access to medical assistance
- Denied access to asylum procedures or family reunification
- In light of the denial of asylum, continued cooperation between the Egyptian authorities and the Eritrean embassy in Cairo to obtain travel documents
- Forced to sign documents of voluntary return without having them translated and without informing detainees of their contents
- Violation of regional and international obligations towards asylum seekers
- Deliberate blackout and withholding of information about forced deportations by the Egyptian and Eritrean authorities
- Dozens of detainees are at risk of forcible deportation
- Fate of people forcibly deported to Eritrea … “sent into a human hell”
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