Egypt accused of unlawful deportation of Sudanese refugees

Amnesty International has accused Egypt of mass arrests and illegal deportations of Sudanese refugees fleeing the ongoing conflict in Sudan.

According to a report released on Wednesday, the rights group documented 12 incidents from January to March this year where approximately 800 Sudanese nationals were deported without being given the opportunity to seek asylum or contest the deportation.

The report also detailed the cases of 27 Sudanese refugees arrested between October 2023 and March 2024, with 26 of them being part of these mass expulsions.

The exact numbers of arrests and deportations remain unclear due to the lack of publicly available statistics. The U.N. refugee agency noted thousands of deportations last year, many involving Sudanese nationals.

Egypt’s State Information Service has not yet responded to requests for comment. Meanwhile, Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights refuted Amnesty’s findings, claiming that authorities adhere to international law.

Amnesty International reported that the arrests began in September 2023, with plainclothes police conducting random checks in Cairo, Giza, and Aswan, targeting Black individuals without valid identification or residence permits.

The conflict in Sudan, which erupted in April last year between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, has caused a significant displacement crisis, with over nine million people fleeing. More than 500,000 have crossed into Egypt.

In response to the influx, Egypt suspended a treaty allowing visa-free entry for Sudanese women, children, and older men, leading to tensions and accusations that migrants are exacerbating economic pressures in Egypt.

Following a worsening foreign currency shortage, many Africans without valid documents have been detained in poor conditions and asked to pay fees in dollars to avoid deportation.

The European Union sees Egypt as crucial in preventing mass migration across the Mediterranean and has recently announced a strategic partnership with Egypt, supported by 7.4 billion euros, partly motivated by concerns over migration.

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