By Ahmed Mansour
Egypt has granted three month residence permits to 171 out of a total of 206 Syrian and Palestinian immigrants who were detained for illegally entering the country. Their release came one day after the Egyptian government issued the decree.
Foreign Minister Spokesman Badr Abdelatty said that out of the 90 people who were held in Alexandria, 72 were released [39 children, 16 women and 17 men]. However Nader El-Attar, From Refugees’ Solidarity Movement, pointed out that the visas issued does not give permission for the refugees to work.
“Those refugees were taken into custody because they had no Egyptian visas, or that they were trying to go to a third country illegally. But as we do understand the situation that is going on in their country, and background checks had to be made in case those refugees would be a threat to the home land security. Egypt will do its best to help and assist those refugees” Said Badr, adding that none of the 206 Refugees requested permanent residence in Egypt.
The remaining 18 refuges will remain in custody until the completion of the required administrative procedures. Most of the detained are held in al Montaza Police Station in Alexandria, with the exception of one who is held in Karmouz Police Station.
Egyptian authorities have been widely criticized for gross mistreatment of Syrian refugees in the country, including mass detentions and deportations. Human Rights watch, the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights and Amnesty International have all released reports highlighting the plight of refugees in Egypt and detailing the poor conditions of their detention.
One of those reports, by the Human Rights Watch, charged last month that Egypt detained more than 1,500 refugees from Syria, including Palestinians, and forced them out of the country, Egypt dismissed those claims saying that “no Syrian Refugee had been forced to leave the country”
“It’s not Egypt’s duty to take care of the other countries refugees, but they still do. What is happening at the moment is that Egyptian government is trying to ignore all the issues that they are facing, such as unemployment, lack of resources and over population and focusing on how to help a fellow country.” Said Lotfy Mokhtar, Syrian Activist, to Egypt Today.