Report compiled by Africa Monitors’ monitor in Egypt
The Egyptian authorities has released an Eritrean refugee woman from prison last Friday , 30 December, 2016 after detaining her for five days, under accusation of lacking official residence permit in Egypt. The release came after relentless efforts done by the Eritrean Refugee Committee prisoners’ affairs Committee and other volunteers in partners with the monitors of Africa Monitors.
The activists engaged the Egyptian police highlighting that the process of getting a residence permit requires a long time (approximately two months at least). However, the Egyptian police have rejected those appeals in the first instance and held the women, who had been transferred to the State Security for investigation, and then transferred to the immigration office.
The Egyptian police had arrested the refugee woman named Amina Terekbe Haile, 25, from a restaurant, where she was working as a waitress in the Dokki district in the Egyptian capital Cairo. They took her then to the Dokki police station for investigation and after interrogating her, it transferred her to the prosecution. The prosecution had ordered the release of the woman, but the police refused to let her free and transferred her to the national security.
The refugee woman has arrived in Egypt as a migrant on 16 October, 2016 and she was registered with the UNHCR’s office on the 21st of December 2016. Then, she has received the yellow asylum seeking card the next day, on 22nd of December 2016. The extraction of the residence permit takes more than a month, after receiving the asylum card, that is why the woman did not have it because she had just received the asylum seeking card five days before her arrest.
The UNHCR’s process for refugees in Egypt includes three main stages. The first one is the registration and asylum seeking process in which the applicant is offered the yellow card, which is the asylum seeking card. The second stage is the Refugee Status Determination (RSD), in which a refugee can be issued either a blue card which means he/she is accepted as a refugee or could be rejected with the right to appeal.The third and the final stage is the resettlement process, in which a refugee seeks a resettlement in a third country for protection and integration. All these process take long time.