Palestinian Refugees from Syria Live Under Unclear Legal Situation in Egypt

For more than ten years, the Palestinian refugees from Syria are continued to live under unclear legal situation in Egypt. The Egyptian authorities refused to register Palestinians from Syria as refugees and give them the yellow card that allows them temporary residence. As a result, hundreds of Palestinians remain denied rights granted to other refugees.

Refugees said UNRWA continues to turn its back on their calls for cash and in-kind assistance, and denounced the mistreatment they have been subjected to by UNRWA staff members.

UNRWA argues that its mission is to help Palestinian refugees only in its areas of operations – Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Difficult Living Conditions

Member of the Palestinian refugee community in Egypt Assaad Majdalani slammed the mistreatment the refugees continue to face by both the Egyptian authorities and UNRWA office in Cairo.

Palestinian refugees who fled war-torn Syria to Egypt continue to call on UNRWA to take up its responsibilities and hand them over relief and cash aids, amid the economic hardship inflicted by COVID-19 outbreak in the Sissi-led country.

The refugees have slammed UNRWA for dragging its feet over their calls for help on account that Egypt falls outside its five areas of operation.

Palestinian refugees who fled war-torn Syria have been subjected to a fragile legal status in Egypt, where they are treated as foreigners rather than asylum-seekers fleeing war-stricken zones. Palestinians from Syria have also been denied the right to legal visas, refugee documents, safe accommodation, basic services, relief assistance, right of free movement, and access to education and labour, and other basic human needs.

Left With No Choice

Nearly 1000 Palestinian-Syrian families were left with no option but to camp out in rural areas in Egypt with no legal papers, suffering from very difficult living conditions, or somehow make their way back to the war zone in Syria. Others died while trying to flee by boat to Italy.

In this regard, we call on international human rights institutions to intervene immediately to put an end to these families’ suffering and help them to live in dignity.

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