Palestinian refugees at risk of deportation
59 Palestinian refugees from Syria and five refugees from the Gaza Strip at risk of deportation from Egypt
On 1 November a group of 56 Palestinian refugees from Syria was rescued and subsequently arrested by the Egyptian navy. According to the information received by the Center for Refugee Solidarity, those arrested include at least 15 women and 10 children between the ages of 8 months and 16 years amongst those arrested.
The group had left from Turkey by boat on 23 October aiming to reach Europe. Following a dispute between the smugglers, the refugees were left stranded on Nelson Island, 4 km north of Abu Qir, Alexandria. They were rescued and arrested by the Egyptian Navy after they called for help. The National Security Department has issued a deportation order, despite a 5 November order by the Public Prosecutor to release them.
According to the information received by the Center for Refugee Solidarity, there are also five Palestinians from the Gaza Strip currently held at the same police station. Three were arrested by the Egyptian authorities after coming from Gaza via the Rafah Crossing and on their way to Alexandria. The other two, a young couple who had married in secret against the wishes of the bride’s parents, were arrested as they tried to board a boat bound for Europe. The Public Prosecutor ordered their release on 31 October, however the National Security Department issued deportation orders for all five of them to Gaza. The couple fear their lives are at danger from the bride’s parents if they are forcibly returned to Gaza.
Another group of at least three Palestinians from Syria, including one 14-year-old boy, are being held at Anfoushy Detention Center in Al-Gomrok in Alexandria and are also at imminent risk of being deported. The three Palestinians were among a group of migrants that was arrested on 30 September after their boat, which reached Alexandria from Damietta, had been stranded at sea for six days. The National Security Department ordered their deportation despite the Public Prosecutor order to release them.
Background Information: Palestinian Refugees in Egypt
Palestinian refugees in Egypt are generally not registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The agency's inability to offer protection to Palestinian refugees entering the country is a result of a longstanding Egyptian policy not to acknowledge and accept Palestinians as refugees.
This protection gap faced by Palestinian refugees in Egypt- many of whom are currently fleeing from Syria- results in denied access of many basic services, such as health, education, employment, as well as in a higher vulnerability towards the arbitrariness of the Egyptian state's policies, such as deportation orders.