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10 Eritrean refugees on hunger strike in Egypt as deportation to Asmara imminent

November 17, 2021 at 12:42 pm

Eritrea refugees gather at a public garden on March 13, 2008 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Ten Eritrean refugees detained in the Red Sea Governorate since 2019 have been on hunger strike for four days.

They have been denied contact with UNHCR and were not allowed to register with the UN agency.

According to a Twitter post by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation researcher Sofian Philip Naceur, the ten Eritreans will be transferred to Cairo today and deported to Eritrea tomorrow.

The news follows the deportation of eight Eritreans from the same family from Egypt back to Asmara earlier this month.

They had also been detained at the Qusayr Police Station in the Red Sea Governorate since 2019 and were accused by Egyptian authorities of illegally entering the country.

READ: Egypt prisoner drowns in cell as torrential rain floods cells in Aswan

Mada Masr has said that there are around 300 Eritrean migrants detained across Egypt for allegedly entering the country illegally and who are at risk of imminent deportation.

According to Naceur, the Egyptian authorities have not recorded direct deportations from Egypt to Eritrea for years. “It remains unclear why Egyptian authorities have shifted their approach toward Eritrean refugees in 2021 and are pushing for a more rigorous policy regarding deportations.”

One of the biggest reasons Eritreans flee the country is that they are conscripted into the military and civil service for little or no money.

Conscripts are regularly tortured and abused and the women are subject to sexual violence. The length of time of their conscription is indefinite and can last for years.

In 2016 a UN commission found that national service in the country equates to enslavement.

Egypt and Eritrea are allies and have met several times over the past years to shore up relations in agriculture, trade, culture and education.