Egypt: Authorities preparing to deport refugee children
The Egyptian authorities are preparing to deport a group of refugees, threatening their lives and security. The group which consists of 13 Syrians and 28 Palestinians is to be deported to Turkey and the Gaza Strip respectively. The group, which includes at least 13 children and 10 women, had sought refuge in Egypt after fleeing the armed conflict in Syria. Under international law, Egypt has a responsibility to protect people fleeing the conflict.
The refugees were arrested by the Egyptian navy on 9 August 2013, near the port of El-Dekhela in Alexandria, for "attempting to exit Egypt illegally". Security forces continue to hold the group in El-Dekhela police station for "national security" reasons. This is despite the fact that a prosecutor has ordered their release
After the immigration office classified the group, the government ordered that the 13 Syrians be deported to Turkey and that the 28 Palestinians, who had been living as refugees in Syria, be deported to the Gaza Strip.
Confirmation from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cairo illustrate that at least eight of the Syrians are registered as refugees, and all the Palestinians hold documents or file numbers showing that they are registered with the Syrian office of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Anyone fleeing the conflict in Syria should be considered to be in need of international protection, including Syrian nationals and Palestinian refugees who live in Syria. The responsibility for providing this protection falls on the country where these individuals are - in this case Egypt. The irony is that Egypt is a signatory to the Organization of African Unity Refugee Convention, which regards people fleeing internal armed conflicts as refugees.
Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:
* Urging the authorities not to deport the 41 Palestinians and Syrians to Turkey and the Gaza Strip respectively;
* Calling on them to give all members of the group access to UNHCR and, for the Palestinians, access to the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Egypt, if they wish.
* Urging them to uphold their international obligations, under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1969 Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, to provide international protection for those fleeing serious human rights violations or armed conflicts.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 SEPTEMBER 2013 TO: (Time difference = GMT + 2 hrs / BST + 1 hrs)
Minister of the Interior
Mohamed Ibrahim Youssef Ahmed
Ministry of the Interior
25 El Sheikh Rihan Street
Bab al-Louk, Cairo, Egypt
Fax: 00202 279 455 29
Salutation: Dear Minister
Counsellor Hesham Mohamed Zaki Barakat
Office of the Public Prosecutor
Supreme Court House
1 "26 July" Road, Cairo, Egypt
Fax: 00202 2 577 4716
Salutation: Dear Counsellor
And copies to:
Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Human Rights
Mahy Hassan Abdel Latif
Human Rights and International Humanitarian and Social Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Corniche al-Nil, Cairo, Egypt
PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEAL TO:
HIS EXCELLENCY MR ASHRAF ELKHOLY
Embassy the Arab Republic of Egypt
26 South Street
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