UNHCR expresses concern over new restrictions for Syrian refugees in Egypt

Press Releases, 12 July 2013

Geneva, 12.07.2013

UNHCR is concerned about reports we have received this week of a number of flights carrying Syrians being turned back from airports in Egypt. Syrian nationals were returned to where their flight originated, including Damascus and Latakia in Syria.

This follows a decision on 8 July imposing new visa requirements, under which Syrian nationals are required to apply for a visa and security clearance prior to their travel to Egypt. UNHCR understands the Egyptian Embassy in Damascus does not have the capacity to issue visas at this time.

"I appeal to the Egyptian authorities, as I have to all other governments in the world, to admit and protect all Syrians seeking refuge in their country," UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said. "I fully understand the challenges faced by Egypt at the present moment. But the traditional hospitality of the Egyptian people should not be denied to Syrians trying to flee the most devastating and dangerous conflict in the world today," he continued.

UNHCR has formally expressed its concern about this change in policy with the government, noting Egypt's great support since 2011, particularly in generously hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

We urge the Egyptian authorities to do their utmost to ensure the continued protection of all who are in need of international protection, and to refrain from returning Syrians without a proper assessment of their protection needs.

UNHCR has registered almost 72,000 Syrian refugees in Egypt. Around 18,000 individuals await registration and plans for mobile registration in Alexandria and Damietta are under way. The Egyptian government estimates that around 250,000 to 300,000 Syrian nationals currently reside in Egypt.

For further information:

  • Melissa Fleming on mobile: + 41 79 557 9122
  • Adrian Edwards on mobile: + 41 79 557 9120
  • Dan McNorton on mobile: + 41 79 217 30 11
• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

UNHCR aims to help 25,000 refugee children go to school in Syria by providing financial assistance to families and donating school uniforms and supplies.

There are some 1.4 million Iraqi refugees living in Syria, most having fled the extreme sectarian violence sparked by the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra in 2006.

Many Iraqi refugee parents regard education as a top priority, equal in importance to security. While in Iraq, violence and displacement made it difficult for refugee children to attend school with any regularity and many fell behind. Although education is free in Syria, fees associated with uniforms, supplies and transportation make attending school impossible. And far too many refugee children have to work to support their families instead of attending school.

To encourage poor Iraqi families to register their children, UNHCR plans to provide financial assistance to at least 25,000 school-age children, and to provide uniforms, books and school supplies to Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR. The agency will also advise refugees of their right to send their children to school, and will support NGO programmes for working children.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

The UN refugee agency is increasingly alarmed over the continuing violence in Iraq and distressed about the lack of an international humanitarian response to deal with the massive numbers of people being displaced. After an assessment mission in November last year, UNHCR officials warned that the agency was facing an even larger humanitarian crisis than it had prepared for in 2002-03. But UNHCR and other organisations are sorely lacking in funds to cope with the growing numbers of displaced.

In an effort to fill the massive gap in funding, UNHCR in January 2007 launched a US$60 million appeal to cover its protection and assistance programmes for Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, as well as non Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people within strife torn Iraq.

The longer the Iraq conflict goes on, the more difficult it will become for the hundreds of thousands of displaced and the communities that are trying to help them – both inside and outside Iraq. Because the burden on host communities and governments in the region is enormous, it is essential that the international community support humanitarian efforts.

Posted on 5 February 2007

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

Crisis in Libya

UNHCR is working with the Tunisian and Egyptian authorities and aid groups to manage the dramatic influx of tens of thousands of people fleeing Libya. By the beginning of March, two weeks after the violence erupted in Libya, more than 140,000 people had fled to the neighbouring countries, while thousands more were waiting to cross. Most are Egyptian and Tunisian nationals, though small numbers of Libyans and other nationalities are managing to escape. UNHCR is particularly concerned about thousands of refugees and other foreigners trapped inside Libya, especially people from sub-Saharan Africa. The following photo essay gives a glimpse into what is happening at the borders.

Crisis in Libya

Responding to Syria's Tragedy Play video

Responding to Syria's Tragedy

As Syria's war heads towards a fifth year, the United Nations and partners today launched a major new humanitarian and development appeal, requesting over US$8.4 billion in funds to help nearly 18 million people in Syria and across the region in 2015
Turkey: Faysal's Flight from Kobane , SyriaPlay video

Turkey: Faysal's Flight from Kobane , Syria

More than 170,000 people have fled from the town of Kobane in northern Syria to escape a fierce offensive by ISIL militants. Faysal managed to escape to Turkey before the fighting in the cauldron of conflict intensified, but he still has some family left in the besieged town on the border.
Refugees Continue Flowing into TurkeyPlay video

Refugees Continue Flowing into Turkey

Turkey has opened borders point for Syrian Kurdish civilians fleeing clashes between ISIS militants and Kurdish forces. More than 138,000 have crossed over since Friday and more are expected.