Human Rights Watch has accused the Egyptian police authorities of “mistreating” Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers in December last year and early January. The police arrested 30 Sudanese citizens during that period “arbitrarily”, it is alleged by the rights group.
HRW quoted three Sudanese refugees and a member of a Cairo-based civil society organisation as saying that plain-clothes police officers arrested the Sudanese at their homes, in cafes and on the street on 27 December 2021 and 5 January this year.
“The police forced them to unload boxes from large trucks into warehouses,” said HRW. “Police officers used batons to beat those they claimed did not work seriously, and made racist remarks about them.”
The following day, the police released all of the Sudanese who had been detained. They were set free at a highway intersection in east Cairo. No charges were made against them.
“Egypt’s attorney general should investigate the arbitrary arrests and mistreatment of Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers and hold those responsible to account,” said Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 52,000 Sudanese citizens are registered as asylum seekers in Egypt. Between two and five million Sudanese nationals live in the country. Those refugees registered in Egypt are entitled to health care and education, but NGOs and media organisations often report that they face discrimination and racism.