UNHCR asks Egypt to freeze evacuation of Sudan's refugees
Egypt-Sudan-UN, Politics, 1/18/2006
The UNHCR asked the Egyptian authorities to freeze the evacuation of hundreds of Sudanese Asylum seekers until their asylum requests are studied.
The spokeswoman for the UNHCR in Cairo, Astrid Van Schtourt, said that the commission met with the Egyptian foreign minister Ahmad Abu al-Gheit and notified him on its work process with the Sudanese detainees inside the Egyptian jails and asked for more time.
She said that the commission asked for continued meetings "outside the prisons because the matter is not connected with criminals," but the Egyptian authorities did not show how much time will be provided towards this end.
Schtourt estimated the number of detained among the Sudanese asylum seekers is 191 of children and women, with the authorities having released other 73. She also asked the authorities to release immediately all Sudanese from Darfur area.
The Egyptian authorities had a list of 600 Sudanese to evacuate but instead released 160 of them last Wednesday after the intervention of the UNHCR.
The Egyptian authorities detained 400 Sudanese asylum seekers after a sit in protest that lasted for three months for 2000 of them in the center of Cairo by the end of December, 2005. The use of force resulted in the killing of 28 of them.
Meantime, an Egyptian delegation will be visiting Sudan "to expound to the Sudanese officials Egypt's viewpoint on ending a protest by the Sudanese refugees in Cairo recently," said a reliable source at the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, the government noted saying the "the aim of the delegation's visit was to remove any misunderstanding about the ending of the protest, especially to south Sudan people," and that Egypt is considering the release of detainees after checking their legal status.
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