By Nourhan Dakroury
The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, released a statement on Friday expressing its concern about new visa requirements for Syrians seeking refuge in Egypt.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in the statement: “I appeal to the Egyptian authorities, as I have to all other governments in the world, to admit and protect all Syrians seeking refuge in their country.”
“I fully understand the challenges faced by Egypt at the present moment. But the traditional hospitality of the Egyptian people should not be denied to Syrians trying to flee the most devastating and dangerous conflict in the world today,” he added.
The statement expressed UNHCR’s concern about numerous flights which were forced to return to the place of origin in Syria, following the new visa requirements imposed on Syrians travelling to Egypt.
The UNHCR demanded that Egyptian authorities care for those who need international protection, and urged them to stop forced deportation of those seeking asylum without properly assessing their cases.
Approximately 72,000 Syrian registered refugees reside in Egypt, according to UNHCR, with 18,000 individuals awaiting registration in Alexandria and Damietta, according to the statement. The Egyptian government’s estimate of Syrians living in Egypt is between 250,000 and 300,000.