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Egyptian Authorities Detain and Deport Eritrean Refugees Back

Egyptian authorities have deported Eritrean asylum seekers without checking their asylum claims or protection needs. On December 24, the Egyptian authorities deported 24 Eritrean asylum seekers, including children, back to Eritrea.

UN human rights experts, including the Special Rapporteurs on Eritrea and Torture, had previously condemned the forcible return of 15 Eritreans last October and November, including at least 7 asylum seekers, stressing that those returned had been tortured and detained in poor conditions and later disappeared.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, until November 2021, there are 20,778 Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees registered with the UNHCR in Egypt, all of whom are threatened with forcible deportation by the Egyptian authorities.

The Global Rights Watch (grwatch.org) documented cases of 9 cases of arbitrary detention of Eritrean asylum seekers, including 3 women, two men, two unaccompanied boys aged 16 and 17, and two children accompanied by their parents aged 3 and 7, who remained in detention for several months.

An Egyptian group that supports migrants and refugees said it had documented 55 cases of Eritreans being held in police stations in Aswan and Red Sea governorates in 2021. An international aid agency employee has also said that until December 14, 2021, 44 Eritrean children were among those detained in Aswan.

Egypt should end its policy of forcible deportation of Eritreans to return to a country where would be at risk of being arbitrary detention and torture, allow them full access to asylum procedures, and immediately stop detaining child migrants as, under international standards, asylum seekers should generally not be detained on immigration grounds. International human rights standards also prohibit the detention of children for the same reasons.

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