Tehran, Nov 16, IRNA – Amnesty International has urged the Egyptian authorities to immediately release and refrain from deporting at least 66 refugees from Syria and Gaza, including a number of children, who are detained in the country.
The National Security Department within the Ministry of Interior has issued deportation orders against at least 64 of the refugees – who could be deported at any time – even though the Public Prosecutor office in Alexandria ordered their release. They include 56 Palestinians threatened with being forcibly returned to Syria.
“By unlawfully detaining dozens of refugees and issuing them with deportation orders the Egyptian authorities have displayed a shocking level of indifference to their suffering,” said Hassiba hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa
“These are people who have had their lives devastated by the conflict and humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. The Egyptian authorities are cruelly flouting their international obligations and Egypt’s constitution to offer protection and sanctuary to those seeking refuge in their country.”
At least 150 refugees from Syria have been deported by the Egyptian authorities to Syria or other countries, including Lebanon and Turkey, so far this year, according to information available to Amnesty International.
Amnesty called for all those detained by the Egyptian authorities on the basis that they are irregular migrants to be immediately released, as ordered by the Public Prosecutor.
“That the Egyptian authorities could even consider returning refugees to the turbulent and bloody conflict in Syria is appalling. They are carelessly placing the lives of those seeking safety at grave risk,” said Sahraoui.
“Instead of detaining them like criminals and issuing deportation orders to wash their hands of the matter, the Egyptian authorities should be offering support and protection to refugees.”
The news of the deportations coincides with moves by Lebanon and Jordan to take a more hard-line stance on refugees from Syria. Both countries have tightened border restrictions for Syrians fleeing the conflict in recent months.
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