Egypt: deportation of migrants to Eritrea

Many Eritrean migrants and refugees in Egypt have been deported from Egypt to their home country at the end of the last year (October-December, 2016). Those migrants were detained in the Al-ganater prison in the capital Cairo, as well as in   in the port city of Alexandria and in the Al-shalal prison, in the city of Aswan, south of Egypt.

Some of those migrants and refugees were caught by the Egyptian security forces while entering to Egypt illegally through the borders with Sudan, and others while trying to reach Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. Africa monitors had reported on the situation in August 2016 https://africamonitors.org/2016/08/16/eritrean-refugees-in-egypts-prisons-face-deportation-risk-to-eritrea/#more-305 and appealed to the Ethiopian government on the behalf of 25 detainees to intervene  and host them in Ethiopia Appeal to the Ethiopian government.docx.

They were caught in different times starting from the year 2015 and in the last year 2016. Some of them were registered in the UNHCR office in Egypt and held the yellow and blue refugee cards while others are arrested and put in prison while in the registration process with the UNHCR for further steps.

The Eritrean refugees in the Egypt, who face the risk of deportation to Eritrea are from different genders and ages.  There were children, women and many young people among these refugees and migrants, who lived in a very difficult prison conditions, in different prisons of Egypt.

There is a deep concern among those migrants and refugees that they might be subjected to detention and torture at the hand of the Eritrean authorities as they get deported to Eritrea because the Eritrean government considers them as criminals and traitors.

They fled from Eritrea escaping the unlimited military conscription and the worst human rights violations. They left their country, in an illegal and perilous journey, where there is a shoot to kill policy by the Eritrean border guards with Sudan and Ethiopia. This journey continues to be dangerous, even after fleeing Eritrea to either Ethiopia or Sudan because of the operations of the human trafficking gangsters and smugglers, who kidnap and torture the migrants in order to get high amount of ransom in return.

The Egyptian government is repeatedly seen to deport Eritrean migrants, who try to enter Egypt and also those who tried to reach Europe through the Mediterranean Sea, to Eritrea. The deported migrants were quickly taken in a secret manner from the airport of Massawa to unknown place to hide a serious punishment which might be taken against them and which is believed to amount to a physical liquidation to some of them.

It is reported that the number of the Eritrean migrants and refugees detained by the Egyptian border guards while trying to cross to Egypt through the Sudan and also while to sail to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea has increased after mid 2015.

Human rights organizations continuously criticize the international community in general and the high commissioner for refugees in particular for not doing their duty to stop the crimes committed by the Egyptian and the Sudanese governments against Eritrean refugees.

Below is the list of detainees Africa monitors had appealed on their behalf to their Ethiopian government to intervene and have been to deported to Eritrea thereafter.

  1. Ali Abdu Mohammad Noor
  2. Rubel Abraham Fere

3- Fiore Tikie Yehdego  Fray

4- Samuel Tikie Yhdego  Fray

5- Senait Girmay Asmerom

6-Mohammed  Adem  Mohammed

7- Luwam Yohannes

8- Gebremeskel  Gebremichael

9- Mohammed  Saeed Saleh

10- Rubel Mantwe Tesfamichael

11-Sirak Telahun Haile

12-Naib Guosh  TecleHaymanot

13- Daniel Abraha Betros

14- Aman Guosh  Haymanot

15- Samuel Musie Mariam

16- Abdullah Saeed Aman

17- Khalid Ali Mohammed

18- Samere Musgun Beraki

19- Shifa  Ali Shum Dahna

20- Seraj  Abdullah Ibrahim

21- Ahmed  Mohammed Mahmoud

22- Shifa Adem Osman

23- Abdullah Saleh Ahmed

24- Mahmoud  Saeed  Saleh

25- Merhawit Samuel

The migrants were detained in Al-Ganater prison, north of Cairo, Al-Shalal prison in the city of Aswan and one prisoner (Luwam Yohannes), in Burj Al-Raheed prison in the city of Alexandria.

Africa Monitors commends the Ethiopian government for trying to intervene and help the migrant detainees. The Ethiopian government through its ambassador in Egypt requested the cooperation from the UNHCR in Egypt if it has to help them. Unfortunately, UNHCR declined to cooperate in this case claiming the detainees were not registered and recognized refugees.

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