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Egypt Turned Its Back to Sudanese Migrants


Currently, Egypt does not grant automatic asylum to Sudanese arriving at its borders. The government requires a visa to enter the country. This ends up being a major constraint because it requires that those who arrive have the documents in order and that they have managed to protect them from all possible vicissitudes during the crossing. The visa application process, on the other hand, takes several weeks and without any certainty of being approved.

The Sudanese conflict has generated about 840,000 international migrants seeking refuge. Many of these migrants arrive in North Africa looking for different Europeans. Egypt is one of the destinations where the largest number of these Sudanese arrive, almost half of those who leave the country of origin. 

In light of the intensification of the military conflict in Sudan, Egypt has received in three months about 257,000 Sudanese refugees, which would be added to about 4 million Sudanese living in the country or making some kind of stay.

As the arrival of migrants has increased and sustained over time, Egyptian migration policy has tended to become stricter, both at the border and inside the country. This has profoundly affected the living conditions and stay of refugees in the North African country.

Most of the Sudanese who have arrived at the borders of Egypt are middle class, since the trip, which is made by bus, from Khartoum the capital of Sudan to Cairo has a relative cost of 500 euros. Yet the Sudanese have always been victims of discrimination and marginalization in Egyptian society. It is a problem that has existed for decades. Each wave of migrants arriving in Egypt has worked to reinforce prejudices and stereotypes in the xenophobic sectors of the receiving country.

“Each of the two generals wants to rule, and each is afraid of the other.”

What is at the root of the new conflict engulfing Sudan? ⤵️ https://t.co/9yZk6cqiDb— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) August 1, 2023

In 2022, the situation reached such a level that hundreds of Sudanese took to the streets to protest and denounce the harassment and mistreatment to which they were being exposed. According to Human Rights Watch, many police officers publicly accuse the Sudanese of being lazy and of causing problems and noise in the communities where they settle.

Currently, Egypt does not grant automatic asylum to Sudanese arriving at its borders. The government requires a visa to enter the country. This ends up being a major constraint because it requires that those who arrive have the documents in order and that they have managed to protect them from all possible vicissitudes during the crossing. The visa application process, on the other hand, takes several weeks and without any certainty of being approved.

At the beginning of the conflict the government allowed vulnerable people to enter the country without a visa, only mandatory for males between 17 and 50 years old, but in mid-June things started to change. Today, visas are mandatory for everyone.

This situation expresses the impact that the massive arrival of migrants in Egypt is having, which also creates some invoices between resident or settled Sudanese and newcomers or applicants settled at the border. Fears are beginning that the migratory wave will trigger a generalization of xenophobic events in Egyptian cities, such as those that happened last year.

All these situations only worsen the fragile situation faced by Sudanese arriving at Egypt’s borders.  The scenario does not seem to be improving, due to the slow flow of entries into Egypt and the social and logistical saturation of the Egyptian border cities.

Aid to refugees entering the country is decreasing by the day. Many have chosen to settle around the headquarters of international organizations to request personalized assistance. Others are choosing to settle in poorer cities in order to be able to budget for basic living conditions.

Egypt is currently facing a deep crisis, especially since the war began in Europe. Its currency has been devalued by 50 percent and inflation reached a record 35.7 percent in June. Because of this, the Sudanese who are being accepted as refugees do not escape the precarious living conditions. There is no longer the minimum subsistence aid or rental subsidies. Egypt has more than once called on the international community to take responsibility for the support of refugees entering the country.

Source: teleSUR

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