Almost 5 mln refugees in Egypt: Sisi

Saturday 06-09-2014 09:18 PM
Almost 5 mln refugees in Egypt: Sisi

A Syrian boy living in Egypt rides his bicycle on a street in Cairo August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed


CAIRO, Sept 6 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt hosts refugees estimated at five million from Syria, Libya, and a number of neighbouring African countries, Egypt's President AbdelFattah al-Sisi said in a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres on Saturday.

Egypt is keen on hosting and supporting refugees despite its difficult economic situation, Sisi said, adding that the regional security situation compels Egypt to ensure that this human right is not used in a manner that threatens Egypt's national security.

Guterres praised Egypt's role in hosting refugees, especially Syrian, who are "assimilated in the Egyptian community, and are provided health and education services without discrimination," Presidential Spokesman Ambassador Ihab Badawi said.

The number of Syrian refugees in Egypt was estimated between 250 and 300 thousand in 2013 by the government, 80 thousand of whom were registered at the UNHCR office.

The UNHCR had previously criticised Egypt's security forces of arbitrary detention of scores of Syrians, including minors, amid growing anti-Syrian sentiment in the country. The detainees were accused  committing acts of violence, following the former President Mursi's ouster in July.

Earlier in March, Arab foreign ministers have adopted a draft resolution to "offer technical and financial support for the Egyptian government to help provide the needs of Syrian refugees and help Egypt in facing the associated difficulties and their consequences".

Recent UNHCR statistics have shown that "more than 51 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013, the largest number since the end of World War II."

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