Urgent Action Network Graphic

Egypt: Sudanese refugees face detention & deportation

Since September 2023, Egyptian authorities have been arresting Sudanese refugees for irregular entry or stay. Those arrested have been detained for up to six weeks in harsh conditions before being forcibly deported to Sudan. They were not given a chance to claim asylum or challenge their deportation. Tens of thousands of undocumented Sudanese in Egypt are at risk of arbitrary detention and forced return due to their migration status.

Here’s what you can do:

Write to the Minister of Interior urging him to:

  • Stop all collective expulsions to Sudan immediately.
  • Respect the principle of non-refoulement by not sending anyone to a place where they risk serious human rights violations.
  • Stop arresting and detaining Sudanese nationals solely based on their migration status and release those who have been arbitrarily detained.
  • Pending their release, ensure detainees are held in conditions that meet international standards and that they are given access to their families, lawyers, and necessary medical care.

Write to:

Major General Mahmoud Tawfik

Minister of Interior

25, El Sheikh Rihan Street

Bab al-Louk, Cairo, Egypt

Email: center@iscmi.gov.eg  E.HumanRightsSector@moi.gov.eg  center@moi.gov.eg  

X (Formerly Twitter): @moiegy 

Salutation: Dear Minister,

And copy:

His Excellency Ahmed Abdallah Ibrahim HAFEZ


Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

454 Laurier Avenue East

Ottawa, ON K1N 6R3

Tel: (613) 234-4931, 4935 Fax: (613) 234-9347/234-4398

Email: egyptembottawa@gmail.com

Restrictive entry measures

As of March 14, 2024, about 500,000 Sudanese nationals had fled to Egypt since the conflict began in April 2023. Half of them remain undocumented. In May 2023, the UNHCR urged countries to halt the forcible return of Sudanese nationals and stateless people from Sudan. However, Egypt imposed stricter entry requirements, including visas and security clearances for men aged 16-50. This left many with no choice but to cross the border illegally.

Arrests and deportations

The exact number of Sudanese nationals arrested and deported by Egypt is unknown, as authorities do not release statistics. Between April and September 2023, UNHCR recorded over 5,000 deportations due to expired documents or lack of residency status. In November 2023, about 1,600 Sudanese, including registered refugees, were reportedly deported. Amnesty International documented the arrest and deportation of over 1,000 Sudanese refugees between October 2023 and March 2024.

Inhumane detention conditions

Amnesty International’s Evidence Lab reviewed detention sites in Abu Simbel and near Wadi Al Karur. Former detainees reported cruel and inhuman conditions, violating the prohibition of torture. Some were arrested in hospitals before completing medical treatment and forced to sleep on the ground post-surgery. Children were detained with their mothers. International law prohibits arbitrary detention based on migration status and never allows the detention of children for this reason.

In March 2024, the EU and Egypt formed a strategic partnership, with the EU providing €7.4 billion in financial support from 2024-2027. This includes funds for migration management and support for refugees in Egypt. Despite this, Egypt must uphold its obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1969 OAU Convention. The principle of non-refoulement prohibits transferring anyone to a place where they risk persecution or serious human rights violations. Forced returns without due process breach this principle.

Please take action as soon as possible until August 14, 2024! The UA will be duly updated should there be the need for further action.