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In a Message to the RPE, Refugee Communities in Egypt: No Response to Our Calls

This post is also available in: Arabic English

A recorded message received from refugee communities in Egypt on their current living conditions, published by the Refugees Platform in Egypt (RPE) as  received:

 

Most refugees in Egypt are living in a state of despair and tragedy, accompanied by constant fear and panic even inside their homes, due to arbitrary arrests and campaigns against refugees and displaced persons. Many UNHCR card holders, whether expired or valid, find themselves subject to detention at any time, which is in violation of UN laws and the 1951 Geneva Convention.

The UNHCR stalling regarding the registration of refugees to receive asylum cards has become systematic. Furthermore, this card does not protect refugees; rather, they fall under the residence law of Egypt. However, the UNHCR gives applicants an appointment to go to the Passports and Immigration Administration in Abbasiya a year and a half after, making it their fault. They must acknowledge the refugee’s rights according to the provisions and articles of the Convention.

Refugees also live in a state of injustice due to the lack of equal treatment by the UNHCR in Egypt. Many refugees do not receive living and educational support, and others live without protection, enduring years of oppression, discrimination, and inequality by the UNHCR itself regarding all the services a refugee needs in order to live a dignified life.

Moreover, the lack of security and means of communication with the UNHCR partner organizations significantly blocks opportunities for refugees. Refugees have been making numerous contact attempts on a daily basis for weeks and months without any response or regard to their suffering in Egypt. This is accompanied by a deterioration of security conditions, which are continually worsening without regard for human life, health, or future.

The presence of refugees in Egypt does not mean they wish for the support provided to them by the state itself to be invested, or for the support to go to the UNHCR or its staff without the refugees benefiting, even if it’s $50 per month. The support that comes in the name of refugees is not properly divided among them, preventing them from meeting the simplest daily life requirements.

Being here has become insignificant; no one is paying attention to us. Millions of refugees do not get a daily food basket [SMEB] to feed their children. They are struggling to earn money just to feed themselves and obtain treatments for their sick. Moreover, they are constantly chasing security that does not exist amidst threats to arrest and deport Sudanese refugees and displaced persons to dangerous locations. As a result, protection has vanished, along with any traces of humanity.

Refugees in Egypt would like the state of Egypt to recognize them and grant them their rights as they desire, or resettle them in a third country, especially those who have been here for ten years or more without regard for their lives or respect for the 1951 Geneva Convention, whose refugee law is recognized in Egypt. 

Some refugees have been waiting for refugee status determination interviews since the COVID-19 outbreak. Back then, their appointments were scheduled to this time, without any sympathy towards their tragic situations. Meanwhile, those whose files were closed by the UNHCR itself have not received requests to reopen them. It is known that countries at war cannot be returned to, therefore, the UNHCR must listen to the requests of these refugees who live without personal identities or UNHCR cards due to its abandonment of its humanitarian work.

We always find that the refugee is merely a political game between UNHCR Egypt and the Egyptian government, without regard to any consequences. Chaos prevails in front of the UNHCR due to security guards and police who use violence against refugees under the UNHCR’s watch and cameras that only record in their favor.

These violations are clear, and we wish for them to stop immediately. Refugees can sacrifice their lives by staging protests to demand their rights.

As I write this statement, I am well aware that the Egyptian government wants such protests to act as a trap for refugees, justifying their repeated arrest in front of the commission. There is nothing to protect them, so we have respected the law and respected you as an organization. Similarly, you must respect the laws and abide by them.

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