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HRW: Egypt forcing Eritrean asylum seekers back

UN human rights experts, including the Eritrean special rapporteurs on Eritrea, had previously protested the forced return of 15 Eritreans last October and November.

AlTaghyeer: Agencies

Human Rights Watch said Thursday that Egyptian authorities were deporting Eritrean asylum seekers, including children, without assessing their asylum claims or other protection needs.

The organization indicated that Egypt deported had 24 Eritrean asylum seekers in total.

UN human rights experts stated that others who were previously returned to Eritrea were tortured, held in severe punitive conditions and some even disappeared.

Joe Stork, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Human Rights Watch, called on Egypt to stop forcing Eritreans to return to a country where ”they face grave risks”.

In addition to allowing them full access to the asylum procedure, Stork said that “the Egyptian authorities should immediately stop detaining child migrants.”

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, until November 2021, Egypt had hosted 20,778 Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees registered with the UNHCR.

This is in light of the lack of data on the number of unregistered Eritrean asylum seekers and migrants in Egypt.

UNHCR cited persistent barriers to asylum in Egypt such as arbitrary arrests and detentions of asylum seekers, refugees, and other migrants.

The UNHCR also stated it was not able to access some of the other Eritrean detainees in Egypt who needed protection and were at high risk of deportation.

The UN organization noted that the 24 Eritreans deported in December were not registered with the UNHCR.

Egyptian authorities periodically grant the UNHCR access to registered asylum seekers and refugees in detention, but often deny access to detained, unregistered asylum seekers.

Human Rights Watch considered that deporting Eritrean asylum seekers without due process violates the international legal prohibition against forced return to a country where people may face threats to their life or freedom, torture, or other serious harm.

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