14 November 2014
The Egyptian authorities must immediately release and refrain from deporting at least 66 refugees from Syria and Gaza, including a number of children, who are unlawfully detained in the country, said Amnesty International. The refugees are being detained in poor conditions with some held in rooms infested with cockroaches, mosquitos and mice.
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, 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.