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9 million migrants and refugees from 130 countries live in Egypt – Middle East Monitor

The International Organization for Migration said more than nine million migrants and refugees from 130 countries currently live in Egypt.

This figure includes the four main communities – four million Sudanese, 1.5 million Syrians, one million Yemenis and one million Libyans.

The news was reported earlier this week in Egypt’s Al-Ahram daily, which said the government’s generosity and positive attitude towards migrants and refugees could be a pull factor.

“There is a positive rhetoric from the Egyptian government in terms of welcoming those in need of protection, by initiating or adopting laws and regulations to ensure that migrants and refugees are given a foothold. equality with Egyptians,” IOM told MEMO, “in their access to basic services such as education and health, as highlighted in the United Nations joint joint situation analysis (another joint study Nations) shared with development partners and the government on 04 July 2022 in Cairo.

“The situation in Egypt encourages all migrants to integrate into society, which is a long-term policy of the government, as opposed to setting up camps,” IOM continued.

“From our point of view, legal and administrative rules, regulations and ministerial decrees exist to ensure the integration of migrants, and we are discussing with the government how to ensure the full implementation of these regulations / decrees where we and other UN agencies such as UNHCR have identified gaps in non-application/implementation.”

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While registered refugees have access to health care and education in Egypt, hundreds and thousands of unregistered asylum seekers need better health care and education.

In 2019, the non-profit ACAPS estimated that there were some 350,000 unregistered Syrians alone “who are likely to need legal protection and assistance”.

Charities have reported that refugees, asylum seekers and migrants suffer from racism and discrimination and a human rights researcher said that in such incidents the perpetrators are rarely prosecuted.

In this video recently posted to Twitter and viewed nearly half a million times, Sudanese children and recent arrivals to Egypt describe their experiences, including being beaten in the street, with one describing how the head of his brother was crushed against the railings.

In October 2020, a Sudanese child was killed by an Egyptian citizen who had fallen out with his father. Peaceful protests erupted in response, and security forces arrested and beat dozens of protesters.

Then, in December 2021 and January 2022, police arrested 30 Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers registered with UNHCR, beat them and forced them into physical labor after they staged a demonstration to protest racism, lack of protection and delays in their resettlement applications.

In March this year, Amnesty International called on Egypt to stop deporting Eritrean refugees where they would risk torture, arbitrary detention and other ill-treatment after the government deported 31 Eritreans to outer space. two weeks.

Last year, the refugee platform reported that more than 200 Eritrean asylum seekers, including 44 children, were being held in cramped and overcrowded cells, with little food, access to sunlight or health care. medical.

In Egypt, dozens of refugees and migrants are detained indefinitely and in cruel conditions, Amnesty International said in its 2021 report, some without access to due process or asylum procedures for years.

This has continued since the 2013 coup, after which Syrian refugees were portrayed as Muslim Brotherhood supporters by government officials, tapping into the animosity that prevailed at the time and accused of being terrorists. .

Syrians have been criticized for dominating businesses, stealing jobs from Egyptians and driving up the price of housing.

“In the event of abuse/mistreatment based on misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of state policies, the government is committed to developing judicial measures and investigations to protect their regulatory measures” , IOM replied when MEMO asked about the treatment of Sudanese, Syrians and Eritrean refugees and migrants.

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The Egyptian government has used refugees as bargaining chips with Europe, promising to stop refugees reaching Europe in exchange for the EU tempering its criticism of the country’s human rights crisis .

In February, during a press conference with his German counterpart, the Egyptian foreign minister highlighted Cairo’s role in the fight against migration in an attempt to divert attention from the human rights that were at the center Of the reunion.

In a 2019 report, the human rights network EuroMed Rights said: “Although Egypt is not a major departure country for migrant movements to Europe, the report finds that attention The focus on EU-Egypt cooperation on migration is mainly driven by Egypt’s attempts to strengthen its image as a regional leader, gain European support for its counter-terrorism policy and obtain funding for its national projects .”

EuroMed also raised concerns about how EU support to Egypt on migration has helped reinforce Egypt’s tough border management policies.

In June, human rights organizations raised concerns when the EU said it would give Egypt $84.2 million to stop boats carrying asylum seekers from leaving for Egypt. Europe to be used for the purchase of maritime border surveillance equipment.

Since 2013, the Egyptian government has purchased spyware from France, Italy and Germany which has been used by intelligence services to track critics of the regime.