CAIRO, Oct 17 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt’s parliament has approved on Monday a law that aims to combat illegal migration, with a majority of 402 votes.
The law approval comes less than a month after a boat, carrying an estimated 450 migrants, capsized in the Mediterranean leaving more than 200 dead.
The draft law was approved by the cabinet last year but was prioritized in the parliament following the capsizing of the migrant boat that sailed off Egypt’s Beheira province en route to Italy.
The law stipulates a penalty between EGP 50,000 and EGP 200,000 to those convicted of smuggling or attempting to smuggle illegal immigrants, as well as those mediating smuggling process.
It also stipulates prison sentences for those involved in sheltering illegal migrants or easing the process of smuggling.
According to the law, which aims to crackdown on illegal migration, the state is responsible for safeguarding the rights and needs of smuggled migrants.
The approval coincides with the launch of Egypt’s National Strategy to Combating Illegal Migration for 2016-2026 with the support of the International Organisation for Migration.
Egypt has thwarted numerous migration attempts to Europe over the past few months and hundreds have been arrested while attempting to exit the country irregularly.
Illegal migration to Europe has largely increased in recent years, as conflicts and dire economic conditions in the Middle East and African countries pushed millions of migrants and refugees to cross over to Europe to flee poverty and war.