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From Sudan to Egypt: Egyptian Decisions Spark High-Risk Irregular Migration Movement

Photo: Passengers fleeing war-torn Sudan at the Wadi Karkar bus station near the Egyptian city of Aswan, on April 25, 2023. AFP 📷©️

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As Ramadan commences, marking the eleventh month of the ongoing armed conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (SPF), the situation is worsening tragically inside Sudan and on the journey out of it in search of a haven. The armed conflict zone has expanded along with a surge in the cycle of violations, leading to a rise in forced displacement in several axes, both internally and externally, including Egypt.

The Refugees Platform in Egypt (RPE) resumes its series of status reports titled “From Sudan to Egypt”, wherein it works to document, monitor, and analyze the patterns of violations occurring in Sudan, which have led to both internal and external forced displacement. In light of the lack of services and human rights and press coverage in most conflict areas within Sudan, the difficulties and high costs associated with displacement, as well as the risks involved, coupled with the looming threat of famine, displaced individuals are exposed to risks of a different kind during and after crossing into Egypt. This is due to EU-funded Egyptian policies aimed at curbing the migration movement, perpetuating the suffering and instability of the displaced, even after arriving in Egypt.

Through this report, the RPE works on monitoring, documenting, and analyzing the impact of the deteriorating humanitarian situation due to the ongoing armed conflict within Sudan, the rise in human rights violations, and food and medical insecurity. The report also includes the increased rate of internal and external forced displacement in Sudan, which is currently the highest and most dangerous worldwide, according to the UN, as approximately 50% of the Sudanese population has been displaced. The report tracks, particularly, the movement of forced displacement from Sudan to Egypt, and the developments on Egyptian governmental and societal responses. It also highlights the effects of the Egyptian government’s decisions regarding conditions and procedures for crossing into Egypt, which have transformed the movement of forced displacement from regular to irregular, posing extremely high risks to the lives, safety, and freedom of the forcibly displaced.


The Report Includes:

  • Developments in Humanitarian Conditions Since the Onset of the Armed Conflict
  • Egyptian Response to the Displacement: The Egyptian Government, International Organizations Operating in Egypt, Local Civil Society, Community Self-Regulation Initiatives
  • International Aid to Egypt Concerning Sudanese Displacement 
  • Conclusion


Developments in Humanitarian Conditions Since the Onset of the Armed Conflict

Since the departure of the government of Abdalla Hamdok on the background of the measures taken by the army on October 25, 2021, Sudan has been suffering from major disruptions due to the absence of an executive government. Nevertheless, on December 5, 2022, Sudan concluded a framework agreement to begin a two-year political transition, setting April 1 as the date for signing the final political agreement. However, military disagreements arose, postponing the signing of the power transfer agreement. On April 6, 2023, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFS) postponed the signing of the final agreement.

Bloody conflict broke out in Sudan in mid-April 2023, resulting in no fewer than 13,000 fatalities and 33,000 injured, according to UN experts, with Khartoum, Omdurman, Kordofan, and Darfur being the most volatile areas. According to a comprehensive report issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in February of last year, both parties to the conflict “used explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas.” Moreover, the report reveals that “by 15 December 2023, at least 118 people had been subjected to sexual violence, including rape, gang rape and attempted rape, among them 19 children. Many of the rapes, according to the report, were committed by RSF members.”

The report is based on interviews with 303 victims and witnesses, including dozens conducted in Ethiopia and eastern Chad, and analysis of photographs, videos, satellite imagery and other open-source information.

Due to the ongoing conflict, Peter Graaff, acting representative of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) in Sudan, has warned that no fewer than 25 million individuals are suffering from severe hunger and malnutrition. Moreover, infectious diseases are spreading rapidly, with reports of over 10,000 cases of cholera, 5,000 cases of measles, about 8,000 cases of dengue, and over 1.2 million clinical cases of malaria.

Since the onset of this conflict, 10.7 million individuals have been displaced, with 9 million inside the country. Of the 10.7 million people displaced, 1.7 million have fled to neighboring countries, the vast majority (62 per cent) being Sudanese. Chad hosts the majority of arrivals at 37 per cent, with South Sudan at 30 per cent, and Egypt at 24 per cent while Ethiopia, Libya and the Central African Republic host the remainder, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

According to UNICEF Spokesperson James Elder, four million Sudanese children have been displaced, equivalent to 13,000 children daily for 300 days.


Egyptian Response to the Displacement

As part of its response to the movement of forced displacement from Sudan, the RPE closely monitored and documented the response with its various components on the Egyptian side of the displacement movement from its inception until the present day. The response components vary depending on the entities involved such as the Egyptian government, international organizations operating in Egypt, local civil society, and community self-regulation initiatives. This also includes tracking the developments in the response process since its inception until now, as well as the challenges encountered along the way.


First: The Egyptian Government’s Response

Withholding Information, Refusal of Passage for Document Holders, and Gradually Changing Undisclosed Procedures Preventing Individuals from Crossing

Based on the 2004 agreement between Egypt and Sudan, known as the “Four Freedoms” agreement, which includes “freedom of movement and travel between the two countries,” individuals moving between Egypt and Sudan under normal circumstances prior to the onset of the armed conflict enjoyed ease and privilege in the process of movement and travel between the two countries. Therefore, with the onset of forced displacement in April 2023, many of the displaced individuals headed to Egypt for entry, according to the RPE’s documentation. It is noteworthy that many of these displaced individuals have had some sort of connection to Egypt at that stage, whether through family, previous work or study, or the presence of Egyptian/Sudanese relatives residing in Egypt, given the long history of social and humanitarian connection between the two countries.

In the early weeks of the armed conflict, international organizations and embassies began urgently evacuating their own from Sudan, with some of them being evacuated through Egypt. At the same time, forced displacement was a viable option for privileged individuals, which is to say, those who carried valid passports or sufficient funds to move urgently. However, as the armed conflict persisted in Khartoum and spread to other states, both internal and external displacement operations began increasing, which Sudanese activists referred to as the “will to turn Sudan to a conflict zone for an extended period.”

Egyptian authorities did not announce nor issue any statements regarding the specific procedures for the crossing of displaced individuals from Sudan to Egypt during this period. This lack of clarity led to the spread of misinformation regarding the methods and procedures for crossing from Sudan to Egypt. It also led to the emergence of grifters who exploit the suffering of the displaced. Despite the human rights demands presented by the RPE to the Egyptian authorities, there have been no announced decisions regarding the entry process for displaced individuals from Sudan to Egypt.

At the same time, the RPE t observed the Egyptian authorities’ refusal to allow document holders among the refugees residing in Sudan prior to the onset of armed conflict to cross into Egypt. Meanwhile, the evacuation process for Egyptian nationals was slow, delayed, and with changing and unclear procedures. This prompted many Egyptian students studying at Sudanese universities to appeal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Egyptian government to urgently evacuate them from Sudan. However, there was no immediate plan to integrate returning Egyptian students into Egyptian universities.

Furthermore, the RPE also monitored the entry procedures for Sudanese nationals and other displaced individuals with the onset of the armed conflict. Despite the lack of disclosed information, the Egyptian authorities continued to uphold the Four Freedoms agreement, allowing Sudanese nationals to cross without prior procedures, however, the crossing procedures were extremely slow during the initial two weeks of the armed conflict. At that time, people waited for days at the border crossing, according to testimonies recorded by the RPE at the time, which led to many displaced individuals contracting diseases, with some of them dying after the deterioration of their conditions. This was further exacerbated by the unpreparedness of the waiting area around the border crossings to accommodate a large number of individuals crossing.

As the influx of displaced individuals continued, the Egyptian government soon began to tighten its measures. On May 25, 2023, Egypt issued a decision to suspend the use of temporary travel documents for Sudanese nationals at Egyptian border crossings. These documents had been in use since the beginning of the armed conflict in Sudan, and Egyptian authorities had previously allowed holders of these documents from Sudan to enter Egypt after following the required procedures. This was crucial as it facilitated the entry of elderly individuals, children, and sick individuals who did not possess passports into Egypt.

The Sudanese authorities had been issuing temporary travel documents in cases of expired or lost passports for individuals wishing to cross into Egypt from categories exempted from prior entry visa requirements. These categories include women, children under 16 and men over 50. These temporary travel documents were issued through Sudanese passport offices at the borders, to facilitate the process for displaced individuals due to the impossibility of obtaining passports through normal procedures.

A few days later, on June 7, 2023, the Egyptian authorities issued a decision requiring the aforementioned categories exempted from requiring entry visas according to the “Four Freedoms Agreement”, to obtain entry visas to Egypt as of the 10th of of the same month. This decision deepened the crisis for the displaced individuals, and shut off the northern borders for most of them. It is worth noting that this decision was issued on the same day the Egyptian Cabinet announced its approval of a draft law on foreign asylum, the details of which remain unknown to this day.

Since implementing these decisions, there has been significant congestion at the border crossings. Furthermore, the waiting process has led to the deterioration of health conditions among the displaced, and increased fatalities -particularly among women, children, and the elderly- due to severe overcrowding, prolonged displacement, lack of food and medicine, and inaccessibility to hygiene and health products and clean water.

Then, the forced displacement movement turned irregular, with families and individuals resorting to more dangerous routes where they are exposed to horrific violations including assault and death. In the best-case scenarios, individuals face detention by the Egyptian authorities, whether they are apprehended at or near the border areas or after crossing into the country

During the journey of arrest and detention documented by the RPE based on testimonies of survivors and witnesses, detainees are subjected to violations including enforced disappearance, sometimes followed by military trials, including children and women, or investigation and trial lacking fair trial conditions. Subsequently, they are detained without just cause in inappropriate detention centers lacking minimum standards of human dignity. Additionally, the RPE has documented forcible deportations of Sudanese nationals from Egypt to Sudan through border crossings after varying periods of detention and disappearance. In upcoming status reports, the RPE will present a detailed analysis of the methodology and patterns of these violations practiced and analyzed in different contexts.

At the end of August 2023, Prime Ministerial Decision No. 3326 of 2023 was issued, which stipulates that “foreigners applying to the General Administration of Passports, Immigration and Nationality, to obtain the right of residence for tourism or non-tourism, must provide a receipt stating that they have converted the equivalent of the fees (residency – default fines – residence card issuance costs) from dollars or its equivalent in free currencies to Egyptian pounds from an authorized bank or exchange company.

The decision also stipulates that foreigners residing in the country “illegally” must regularize their status, provided they have an Egyptian host, within three months from the effective date of this decision, in exchange for paying an administrative fee equivalent to one thousand US dollars deposited in the account designated for this in accordance with the rules, procedures and controls determined by the Ministry of Interior.” Decision No. 4313 of 2023 was issued to extend the period for regularizing the status of foreigners residing in the country illegally provided for in Article 2 of Prime Minister’s Decision No. 3326 of 2023 for an additional three months.

According to the independent Sudanese website “Dabanga Sudan”, “a large number of Sudanese are facing deportation by the Egyptian authorities after they were arrested for residency violations, although some of them are refugees registered in the records of the UNHCR, and the court acquitted them through the normal judicial procedures, but the state security authorities decided to deport them.”

In addition to domestic legal constraints, the UNHCR office’s work in Egypt has been subject to criticisms documented by the RPE. These criticisms are related to the system and policies for providing registration services at the UNHCR. This flaw has led to a long waiting period for an interview with UNHCR staff, which can range from four to six months. This process extends to issuing a reference number, which paves the way for obtaining a residence permit, a process that takes up to a year to obtain a valid residence permit that is valid for a maximum of six months.

One of the reasons for this issue is that there are only three UNHCR offices (two in Greater Cairo and one in Alexandria), and there are no border offices or close to the border with Sudan, which caused great pressure on the three offices, high transportation costs for those wishing to register, as well as the fact that they are not entitled to benefit from the services of governmental, private and international organizations and bodies until after registration, in addition to the lack of legal protection during their movements, which led to arrests, deportations and attacks against people without identification documents, then the difficulties were reinforced by Decision No. 3326 and its addition of a great financial burden on asylum seekers. In a legal analysis paper, the RPE described it as “exploitation from a punitive perspective, which violates the law and does not achieve its purpose.”

In addition, detainees are not allowed to file an asylum application from inside the detention facility, and UNHCR is unable to register and communicate inside the detention facilities, according to a previous statement by UNHCR in November 2022 on its global website, while it was not published on the UNHCR website in Egypt or on any of its platforms. RPE has documented many facts that support what was stated in the UNHCR statement at the time. This same pattern continues until now with a higher frequency against people on the move, especially those displaced from Sudan in recent months.

RPE also recently documented an attack on refugee women and children while they were standing in the queue for those wishing to enter the UNHCR office in 6th of October city. The video showed Egyptian security personnel wearing the uniform of the Ministry of Interior violently pushing refugees, including children, from in front of the UNHCR office, while they were standing in the place designated for those wishing to enter the office to submit requests. In the video, one of the security personnel is heard directing racist and insulting phrases by saying “Yalla slave, Yalla dirt” to the children who are with their families.

These conditions and the suffering and legal risks prompted the Darfur Lawyers Association to file a complaint to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Secretary-General against the UNHCR office in Egypt.

The Egyptian and Sudanese interior ministers met on March 2. According to the Sudanese statement, the Egyptian minister directed the formation of “a mechanism that includes specialists in the Sudanese and Egyptian interior ministries and the Sudanese embassy in Cairo to agree on visa and residency procedures.” The Egyptian interior minister attributed the slow procedures for issuing visas for Sudanese wishing to visit Egypt to the screening procedures necessary to fulfill the conditions of the visa, pledging to facilitate the procedures to ensure that the largest number of people can obtain them in a short time, and promised to simplify the residence procedures for Sudanese in Egypt and called on them to complete them at passport offices in the capital Cairo and the governorates, according to Sudanese media.

However, it is notable that the Egyptian statement did not make any reference to refugee issues. It only referred to the Sudanese Minister of Interior’s interest in exchanging experiences with Egyptian security agencies, which are recognized for their efficiency in various fields of security work, as well as his aspiration to strengthen communication channels and information exchange mechanisms between the two sides in light of the security challenges posed by the current situation in the region.

The Sudanese have faced death on the one hand and the closure of the northern borders on the other, which has promoted irregular migration and human smuggling operations, and the displaced on the journey of irregular migration face horrific incidents such as kidnapping, extortion or death and abandonment in the desert. However, the hope of escaping the horrors of armed fighting pushes millions of Sudanese to try their luck in any way, and irregular migration may explain the wide disparity in estimates of the number of Sudanese inside Egypt, between more than 400,000 according to the International Organization for Migration and 4 million according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, an Egyptian governmental center.


Second, the response on the Egyptian side (the delivery of aid to Sudan):

At the level of Egyptian aid to Sudan, and by documenting the official news and statements published in this regard, Egypt has sent aid to Sudan via aircraft and military ships several times, and it was provided by official bodies such as the Ministries of Health, Social Solidarity and Defense, and organizations such as the Egyptian Red Crescent and the House of Zakat and Charity participated in providing aid, and the response was to send aid for the first time on 16 May 2023 by sending two medical aid aircraft, while the last statement talked about sending aid via a supply ship loaded with hundreds of tons of relief aid including foodstuffs, subsistence and medical supplies on September 18, 2023.


Third, the response on the Egyptian side from international organizations:

In the first two weeks of forced displacement after the armed conflict, border crossings were devoid of any presence of international organizations operating in Egypt, and none of them issued any official information or statements. This delay is due to the lack of offices of international organizations in or near border areas or cities near the southern border, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In addition, Presidential Decree 444 of 2014, which defines the border and adjacent areas as military zones and sets the rules governing these areas, prohibits any presence except with the permission of the Egyptian military security agencies. This means that the presence of organizations in these areas, including border crossings, requires security clearance from various security and military agencies, including the National Security of the Ministry of Interior and Military Intelligence of the Egyptian Ministry of Defense, which has hindered their presence, even if only for documentation purposes.

According to what was documented by the “Refugee Platform in Egypt”, the Egyptian authorities have asked the organizations that wish to provide aid to the displaced to direct this aid to the “Egyptian Red Crescent”, which has established reception centers near the Arqin crossing only to provide emergency and initial assistance to the displaced. France 24 published a report on the relief role two weeks after the start of the armed conflict, citing a volunteer on the Egyptian side, citing the absence of the presence of UN and international humanitarian organizations at the Arqin crossing, and the “Red Crescent bore the burden of the crisis despite modest capabilities”, which led to the intensification of the humanitarian crisis at the border. 

“The nearest point with vital services and facilities is about 500 kilometers away from the Arqin crossing inside Sudan, so crossing through this route is a difficult and risky resort, especially for patients and children.”

About 25 million Sudanese are suffering the horrors of intense fighting, and relief organizations have been forced to withdraw from the fighting areas. But the biggest crisis was after the fighting moved to Wad Madani state, which has served as a center for humanitarian operations since the beginning of the conflict. “Aid organizations have reduced their presence in Wad Madani due to the fighting, as their staff moved to neighboring countries,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General, exacerbating the crisis of displaced people.

The WFP provides cash assistance to Sudanese in Egypt through an electronic registration. The WFP team enters applicants’ information into a database, the system automatically verifies that they have not received such assistance before, and then each person is given an electronic payment card worth up to US$15 per person, with the average family receiving US$75. People can cash out the card through a financial service provider, giving them the freedom to spend outside their area, if they need to move again. Along with contact information, basic questions are asked so that WFP can identify individuals who need more assistance, for example, pregnant women or people with disabilities.

However, the program did not specify the conditions under which it accepts individuals and whether it requires them to register with the UNHCR first, which could mean that hundreds of thousands of displaced people would be excluded from receiving aid.

Social Solidarity Minister Nevine El-Kabbaj summarized Egypt’s relief efforts for Sudan in mid-February in an interview with the UN website, stating that Egypt provided all social assistance, as well as paying for the refugees’ housing costs for the first two months of their entry into Egypt, as well as their health care costs, and cash transfers “whether through Egyptian NGOs or religious institutions, other institutions and other Sudanese in Egypt who support them with cash transfers.”


Fourth, the response on the Egyptian public side:

Hate campaigns are escalating on social media directed at refugee communities, the most recent of which was revealed by an analysis of the “Motsadqash” platform that covered the period from October 1, 2023 to January 6, 2024. The analysis concluded that those behind the campaign against refugees are nationalist accounts and groups, in addition to supporters of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and what confirmed the Egyptian regime’s connection to the campaign was that it culminated in the Egyptian authorities’ announcement on January 9 to start counting and auditing the number of refugees and expatriates.

RPE has previously condemned the escalating hate speech against refugees in Egypt and called for holding those who promote it accountable, especially in light of a toxic environment of ignorance, a general and institutionalized disregard for genuinely discussing refugee issues in Egypt, a lack of understanding/awareness of ethnic and religious differences and the rights of others, and certainly the lack of any measures to monitor and prevent hate speech and the non-existence of Egyptian legislation that defines hate speech.


Fifth, initiatives on the ground from southern Egypt to Cairo face legal and security challenges:

Despite these systematic campaigns on digital platforms and statements by officials in Egypt linking the presence of migrants to the economic crisis in Egypt – which RPE considered a very dangerous development – the picture is actually different in terms of community initiatives and civil society organizations that rushed to host or provide assistance to the Sudanese.

Most notably, Nubian groups quickly began hosting the displaced in their homes in Aswan and Wadi Karkar, while the Mersal Foundation announced medical support for the displaced, the Abwab al-Khair Foundation provided humanitarian support to dozens of families, and various initiatives were launched to assist, including the “Mastoura Initiative.”

In addition to the announced initiatives, the Refugees Platform in Egypt (RPE) has documented self-organization groups within the displacement communities themselves, where activists from the displaced began to organize themselves to assist other displaced people, and the RPE announced the emergency response program, by providing support and legal advice directly or online, and launched a request form to access different service providers, while continuing to publish guides for new arrivals to Egypt that include basic legal information, as well as information about service providers available to contact them. The RPE also continues its work in monitoring and documenting developments and violations through a series of case reports “From Sudan to Egypt“.

All these organizations and initiatives (both registered and unregistered) face different security challenges. According to what RPE documented, the Egyptian security authorities impose on registered and unregistered organizations to work within a specific framework that does not include expanding support for refugees and foreigners, while not speaking publicly about the situation of people on the move, while organizations that violate this general framework are subject to threats, restrictions and targeting in their work.

In addition, Egyptian civil society organizations cannot work in providing support or monitoring and documentation in border and adjacent areas, including border crossings, and with the application of Law 82 of 2016 on irregular migration, assisting smuggled migrants may expose the provider to legal accountability on charges related to involvement in migrant smuggling. Despite human rights warnings against using this text to criminalize assisting migrants, the legal amendment came with the same text, which prevents all registered organizations from assisting, because the system of assisting these organizations does not allow them to assist.

The system of assisting these organizations must be done within the framework of the procedures of the Ministry of Social Solidarity, which requires that the person receiving the service has an official identity and valid residency, while this text represents a great danger to unregistered groups and initiatives whose activists may be subject to legal accountability if it is proven that they assisted people who crossed into Egypt irregularly.

At the level of funding, Egyptian civil society components face major issues related to internal funding (based on financial donations from Egyptians), as funding decreases depending on the economic crisis the country is going through. At the same time, external funding – from outside Egypt – may take more than four months for approval and bank transfer procedures – according to the director of a registered charity organization in Egypt – while any group or person who receives external funding is prosecuted. These imposed restrictions hinder the work of organizations, especially in emergencies such as large forced displacement movements.


International Aid to Egypt concerning Sudanese Displacement

According to the information documented by the Refugees Platform in Egypt, Egyptian officials requested for the first time direct support from European partners after the start of forced displacement from Sudan to Egypt as a result of the armed conflict in Khartoum, despite the depth of Egyptian-European relations in many areas, especially in the fields of “migration governance and border management,” the Egyptian authorities did not directly request urgent and direct support from European partners for what they called “hosting refugees and migrants” until the start of the forced displacement movement from Sudan to neighboring countries, including Egypt.

In the context of Sudanese displacement, the EU has allocated €5 million in 2023 for humanitarian assistance to help the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt: Emergency Education and Basic Needs, and the EU added €20 million for new Sudanese arrivals, to cover their needs for food, water, sanitation and hygiene items.

In May 2023, the United States provided an initial $103 million in humanitarian assistance to support Sudan and neighboring countries suffering from the effects of the crisis, of which $6 million will go to Egypt. The WFP launched an emergency cash assistance program to support vulnerable people fleeing the conflict in Sudan to Egypt in May 2023.

On May 21, the head of the EU delegation in Egypt, Ambassador Christian Berger, announced the EU’s provision of 200,000 euros to the Egyptian Red Crescent Society to assist those coming from Sudan to Egypt, at a press conference announcing UNDP and EU-funded support totaling 27 tons of immediate health care supplies to support the Egyptian government’s efforts on the southern border in response to the Sudanese crisis.

On June 20, the United States announced nearly $172 million in additional humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan and neighboring countries suffering from the effects of the ongoing humanitarian crisis, bringing the total humanitarian assistance provided by the United States to Sudan and neighboring countries this fiscal year to more than $550 million, including to Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, to respond to the needs of refugees, displaced people and those affected by the conflict in the region.

The 2023 UN appeal for $1.7 billion for Sudan was only half-funded, according to Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, prompting the UN to launch a new appeal for $4.1 billion in 2024 to meet Sudan’s humanitarian needs.

In February, the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, Elena Panova, said around 300 people were arriving in Egypt daily from Sudan. Shortly after the first refugees began arriving in Egypt, Martin Griffiths allocated funding from the Central Emergency Relief Fund to the UN team in Egypt to be able to scale up the response. They worked to set up water, sanitation and hygiene facilities on the route refugees took on their way to Egypt, and more than 270,000 people received the UN cash assistance and basic medical support.



With the start of the armed conflict in Sudan on April 15, 2023, the Sudanese displacement movement to neighboring countries, including Egypt, began, and the forced displacement process at that time was available to people with a privilege, and with the increasing numbers of displaced people, the Egyptian authorities began placing the first restrictions on May 25, and then the restrictions increased as mentioned above, namely legal restrictions on immigration and entry from official crossings, legal and financial restrictions on those in Egyptian territory, and security restrictions through arrest and deportation campaigns and failure to provide some displaced people with their legal rights, as detailed in the report.

The restrictions on entry through the crossings led those fleeing the killing and destruction in Sudan to resort to irregular migration, despite its dangers and the exposure of refugees to extortion, assault, theft, and abandonment on the road, as documented by numerous press reports.

The entry restrictions also coincided with continued issues with UNHCR’s registration system in Egypt, including the small number of offices providing UNHCR services, the slow response to phone calls, the long wait time for those wishing to register for an appointment, and the lack of offices near the border to facilitate access to services and prevent IDPs from being exposed to legal risks for not carrying legal papers in Egypt during their travels from the far south to UNHCR offices in the Egyptian capital and the city of Alexandria.

The devastating fighting in Sudan, accompanied by horrific violations by both sides, has pushed millions of people to internal or external displacement. With the restrictions imposed on IDPs and the lack of international funding, IDPs are forced to return to their homes in places of armed conflict. International organizations, neighboring countries receiving IDPs, and donor countries that have not committed to their announced financial and in-kind contributions are responsible for this situation, which requires urgent international relief action and easing all forms of restrictions on IDPs from neighboring countries.

We call on the Egyptian authorities to abide by the provisions of the 1951 Convention on the Rights of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, and to abide by the principle of non-refoulement, which is explicitly stipulated in the provisions of international humanitarian law, international refugee law, and international human rights law, albeit with different scopes and different conditions of application in each of the mentioned branches of law. Many displaced persons are not classified by law as refugees or asylum seekers until the organizational process to register them begins, which may justify removing legal protection from them in the eyes of the regime, but the principle of non-refoulement to which Egypt has signed commitments is consistent with the principle of non-refoulement.

We call on aid donor countries to expedite the fulfillment of their commitments to Sudan, and to focus on expenditures provided to Sudan’s neighboring countries to be primarily for humanitarian assistance and protection, rather than focusing on assistance provided for so-called “border management, anti-smuggling and voluntary return” operations, while these operations increase the suffering of the displaced in the context of a larger process of militarization and extension of European borders to the southern Mediterranean countries.

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