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Stop the crime of forced deportation against seven Eritrean asylum seekers

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Urgent call:

The Refugees’ Platform in Egypt has received First-hand information that the Egyptian authorities, represented by the Ministry of Interior, began the process of deporting seven Eritrean asylum seekers this morning, after arbitrary detention of two years. Amongst them are women and children.

Early this morning, the Ministry of Interior transferred the seven detainees from Quseer Police Station to Safaga hospital, where they did a COVID PCR test. After they tested negative, they are going to be transferred to Cairo Airport in the morning to then be deported in the evening to Asmara.

The seven Eritreans were arrested along with the rest of their families on October 24th 2019, when they tried to enter Egypt to seek asylum. Since then until now, they are arbitrarily detained without being able to communicate with a lawyer or having been given the right to a defense, legal representation or being allowed to claim asylum. In inhuman detention conditions and without any kind of medical attention, many of them suffered from serious physical and psychological illnesses during their detention. The ones most at risk during the detention are children, especially those who were infants at the time of their arrest.

On August 4th 2021, the Egyptian authorities, in cooperation with the Eritrean embassy in Cairo, forcibly issued travel documents for them against their consent, ignored their quest to claim asylum and refused to legalize their situation multiple times.

Despite all the national and international condemnations, the Egyptian authorities forcibly deported eight members of these families to Eritrea on October 31st, 2021. From the moment they were deported, their families have not received any information about them, which makes this deportation a forced disappearance.

The UNHCR office in Egypt was informed of the status of detainees by their families, and their repeated requests to allow them to seek asylum. The Refugees’ Platform in Egypt also sent a letter to the UNHCR office in Cairo, but there is no response. The detainees have not received any kind of support from UNHCR and its partner agencies throughout the period of detention.

Five days ago, the detainees began a hunger strike to protest against their arbitrary detention in inhumane conditions for over two years and against the forced deportation that they face.

This morning, a police force took seven Eritreans to a hospital in Safaga city, in the Red Sea Governorate. They were informed that they will be deported tomorrow evening, to Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. There is a direct EgyptAir flight to Asmara, tomorrow, November 18th, at 22:40.

We can see the level of danger the asylum seekers are suffering, as they preferred detention in inhumane conditions rather than being deported. They already lost part of their families and now they will be exposed to the risks of torture, arbitrary detention and possibly extrajudicial killing.

The “Refugees’ Platform in Egypt” condemns the illegal and inhuman practices carried out by the Egyptian authorities in violation of the Egyptian constitution and laws, also the violation of Egypt’s international and regional obligations in human rights treaties in general, and the rights of refugees in particular.

 What happened to the seven who are being deported now, Violation of the provisions of Articles 54, 55, 80 and 91 of the Egyptian Constitution, Articles 40 and 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 2 of Law 82 of 2016, the Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations High Commissioner for 1956, Article 280 of the Egyptian Penal Code, Article 54 of the Constitution and Article 139 of the Code of Criminal Procedure  Al-Masry and Article 16 of the Refugee Convention when it prevented them from communicating with their families or appointing a lawyer, as well as violating the constitution in Articles 56 and 80 and Article 112 of the Egyptian Child Law, where children and women were detained in places that were not qualified in terms of medical care or in terms of the conditions stipulated in them.  International conventions for the detention of children or women, nor the medical care approved by Egyptian and international conventions for prisoners, as well as violating Articles 31 and  33 of the Refugee Convention ratified by Law 331 of 1980 and Articles 6 and 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Law 536 of 1981 and Article (3) of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by not enabling detainees  From submitting an asylum application, as well as taking procedures for their deportation to a country where there are real dangers for their lives, freedom and safety.

We at the “Refugee Platform in Egypt” denounce the deportation process that took place against eight refugees on October 31, and demand an investigation into what happened. We also call on the Egyptian authorities to immediately stop deporting the seven Eritrean asylum seekers who were transferred today from their detention center this morning – at the police department Al-Qusair Police. They are scheduled to be deported tomorrow evening, the 18th of November. We also want them to be enabled to submit their asylum requests. We also appeal to the Public Prosecution to exercise its oversight role on the conditions of detention facilities under its supervision and to investigate violations committed against refugees and asylum seekers and to investigate the deportation process that took place against the eight asylum seekers on October 31  We also call on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-Egypt office to quickly intervene and register detainees and detainees, especially as required by international obligations, and to provide them with an appropriate protection environment or to resettle them to a safe third country.  In their integration in line with Egypt’s international obligations towards them, the “Refugee Platform in Egypt ” warns of the consequences of the authorities’ continuation of indecent and inhumane practices and the violation of the rights of refugees and migrants on the Egyptian border.

There is no human being illegal.

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