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2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Egypt

| Overview |

Working environment

  • The Arab Republic of Egypt is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, as well as the 1969 OAU Convention. As the country has, however, not yet developed national asylum procedures and institutions, the functional responsibilities for all aspects of registration, documentation and refugee status determination (RSD) are carried out by UNHCR under the 1954 Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Egypt.

  • Egypt remains a transit and destination country for refugees and asylum-seekers, in particular Eritrean, Ethiopian, Iraqi, Somali, Sudanese and Syrian refugees, as well as Palestinians fleeing from the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria).

  • The crisis in Syria that has been ongoing since 2011 has resulted in the arrival of large numbers of Syrians in Egypt. By the end of September 2013, UNHCR had registered more than 120,000 Syrians hosted mainly in urban areas throughout Egypt. It is anticipated that the number of Syrians in need of assistance will reach 180,000 by the end of 2013.

  • The situation of refugees and asylum-seekers in Egypt is affected by difficult socio-economic conditions, including dramatic price rises and inflation, scarce employment opportunities, negative perceptions of certain nationalities and a general deterioration of the security environment due to political instability. In addition, the trafficking and smuggling of refugees and asylum-seekers from and through Egypt remains a serious protection challenge.

  • Syrian and Sudanese refugees have access to Egyptian public health and education facilities and services.

People of concern

The main groups of people of concern planned for in 2014 under the Egypt operation are: Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria; Sudanese refugees who escaped fighting between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North and the Sudanese Armed Forces in Blue Nile State, South Kordofan and Abyei (Sudan) or generalized violence in Darfur (Sudan); South Sudanese refugees who have been in Egypt for decades and do not deem the situation in South Sudan conducive to their repatriation; Somali refugees who fled the security situation in their country; Eritrean refugees who sought asylum due to human rights abuses or forced conscription; and Iraqi refugees fleeing generalized violence in Iraq.

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for Egypt
TYPE OF POPULATION ORIGIN Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total 157,700 157,700 217,700 217,700 229,700 229,700
Refugees Somalia 7,000 7,000 8,000 8,000 9,000 9,000
Sudan 18,000 18,000 20,000 20,000 23,000 23,000
Syrian Arab Rep. 100,000 100,000 150,000 150,000 160,000 160,000
Various 12,000 12,000 15,000 15,000 18,000 18,000
Asylum-seekers Ethiopia 1,700 1,700 2,700 2,700 3,700 3,700
Somalia 2,000 2,000 3,000 3,000 4,000 4,000
Sudan 11,000 11,000 14,000 14,000 8,000 8,000
Various 6,000 6,000 5,000 5,000 4,000 4,000

| Response |

Needs and strategies

The current instability in Egypt is likely to continue to affect the protection environment for refugees and asylum-seekers. In 2014, UNHCR will mainly focus on providing protection by conducting registration on an individual basis and refugee status determination; and will pursue durable solutions where feasible. Protecting refugees from violence and exploitation, especially sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in collaboration with its legal partners, will remain a priority. UNHCR will intervene with the Government and concerned authorities to prevent refoulement, challenge arbitrary detention and ensure due process of law for refugee victims of crime. UNHCR will also maintain its capacity building programme with the Government with a focus on policy discussions.

Although Syrian and Sudanese refugees have access to public health and education, the quality of public health care and the cost of secondary and tertiary health care remain a challenge. Moreover, the absorption capacity in government schools, particularly in urban areas, is stretched given the already overcrowded classrooms and lack of teachers. In 2014, UNHCR will therefore continue to work with existing and potential new partners to address the minimum protection and assistance needs of the increasing refugee population. The Office will support the Ministries of Health and Education and together with its partners, focus on assisting the most vulnerable individuals with financial assistance, education and health support. UNHCR and its partners will further focus on livelihood activities and microfinance schemes targeting the most vulnerable cases.

| Implementation |


UNHCR will maintain a close working relationship with the Refugee Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior, as well as other ministries.

UNHCR will continue its partnership with international and national NGOs, and also pursue efforts to diversify its local partners.

It will expand cooperation with the main universities in Cairo, and will continue cooperating closely with other UN agencies, IOM, the League of Arab States.

2014 UNHCR partners in Egypt
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Population
NGOs: Arab Council Supporting Fair Trial, Care International, CARITAS, Catholic Relief Services, Central Association for Kindergarten Supervisors League, Egyptian Red Crescent, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Mahmoud Society, Refuge Egypt, Resala Association, Save the Children, Terre des Hommes
Others: Psycho-Social Training Institute in Cairo, TADAMON
Operational partners
Government agencies: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Refugee Affairs Department), Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Social Solidarity
NGOs: AMERA Legal Aid, Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights
Others: IOM, Sacred Heart Church, St. Andrew's Refugee Services, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS, UNV, WFP, WHO

| Financial information |

In recent years, the financial requirements for UNHCR's operation in Egypt have increased dramatically, from USD 13.9 million in 2010 to a revised 2013 budget of USD 63 million, following the influx of Syrian refugees since 2012.

The overall budget for Egypt in 2014 is set at USD 65.1 million, with the majority of the budget devoted to the emergency response for Syrian refugees. These financial requirements are based on the best estimates for 2014 using the information available as of mid-2013. In light of the evolving situation in Syria, any additional requirements will be presented in the Regional Response Plan for Syrian refugees (RRP6), with the situation undergoing further review in the course of 2014.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105

UNHCR contact information

The UNHCR Representation in Egypt
Style of Address The UNHCR Regional Representative in Egypt
Street Address 17th Mekka El Mokrama Street, 3rd proximity , 7th District ., Behind 6th of October Club ., 6 October City - Egypt, Cairo, Egypt
Mailing Address 17th Mekka El Mokrama Street, 3rd proximity , 7th District, 6 October City, Cairo, Egypt
Telephone 20 2 383 57 509
Facsimile 20 2 383 55 762
Time Zone GMT + 2
Working Hours
Monday:08:30 - 15:30
Tuesday:08:30 - 15:30
Wednesday:08:30 - 15:30
Thursday:08:30 - 15:30
Sunday:08:30 - 15:30
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New Year's Day
07 January 2014, Coptic Christmas
13 January 2014, Prophet's birthday
20 April 2014, Easter Sunday
21 April 2014, Sham El Nessim
28 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
29 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
05 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
06 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
25 December 2014, Christmas Day



UNHCR contact information

Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Egypt [1]
Refugees [2] 230,086
Asylum Seekers [3] 23,159
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 23
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 253,268
Originating from Egypt [1]
Refugees [2] 12,834
Asylum Seekers [3] 9,438
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 19
Total Population of Concern 22,291
Government Contributions to UNHCR
Contributions since 2000
2014 0
2013 0
2012 0
2011 25,000
2010 25,000
2009 0
2008 0
2007 0
2006 0
2005 0
2004 0
2003 0
2002 0
2001 0
2000 0
Private Sector Contributions to UNHCR
Contributions since 2006
2014 0
2013 45,806
2012 0
2011 0
2010 0
2009 0
2008 0
2007 0
2006 0

Egypt UNHCR Fundraising Reports Rss FeedUNHCR Fundraising Reports

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On the Border: Stuck in Sallum

After violence erupted in Libya in February last year, tens of thousands of people began streaming into Egypt at the Sallum border crossing. Most were Egyptian workers, but almost 40,000 third country nationals also turned up at the border and had to wait until they could be repatriated. Today, with the spotlight long gone, a group of more than 2,000 people remain, mainly single young male refugees from the Sudan. But there are also women, children and the sick and elderly waiting for a solution to their situation. Most are likely to be resettled in third countries, but those who arrived after October are not being considered for resettlement, while some others have been rejected for refugee status. They live in tough conditions at the Egyptian end of the border crossing. A site for a new camp in no man's land has been identified. UNHCR, working closely with the border authorities, plays the major role in providing protection and assistance.

On the Border: Stuck in Sallum

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

Stuck at the Egyptian border

Some three weeks after the Libyan displacement crisis erupted in mid-February, thousands of people were still stuck at the border between Libya and Egypt waiting for onward travel to their home countries. Many have arrived exhausted at the Sallum crossing after travelling for days without adequate food or water. Some told harrowing tales of armed men going door to door at night, forcing people from sub-Saharan Africa to leave after destroying their identity papers and taking their money.

More long-haul flights to Bangladesh and other Asian destinations are needed to decongest the border, although people from countries like Eritrea and Somalia cannot go home. As a result, many people have been stuck at the border for days, sleeping outside in the cold. UNHCR has provided blankets, plastic mats, food and water for those waiting to be repatriated.

More than 100,000 people have arrived at the Sallum border since the start of the Libyan uprising. The majority have been migrant workers from Egypt who were allowed through immigration and customs quickly, but many nationalities have also turned up at the border and having to wait.

Stuck at the Egyptian border

Growing Numbers of Syrians Seek Refuge in Egypt

Since the Syrian crisis erupted in March 2011, more than 1.6 million Syrians have fled their homeland to escape the fighting. Most have sought shelter in countries neighbouring Syria - Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. But a significant number have made their way to Egypt in recent months. They are coming by air from Lebanon after leaving Syria, and also by sea. Since March, UNHCR has been registering about 2,000 a week. To date, almost 80,000 have registered as refugees, with half of them women and children. UNHCR believes there may be many more and the refugee agency is reaching out to these people so that they can receive vital protection and assistance and get access to basic services. The Syrians are staying with host families or renting apartments, mainly in urban centres such as Cairo, Sixth of October City, Alexandria and Damietta. The refugees heading to Egypt say they are attracted by its open door policy for Syrian refugees and by the lower rents and living costs. The following photographs were taken by Shawn Baldwin.

Growing Numbers of Syrians Seek Refuge in Egypt

Egypt: Seeking SafetyPlay video

Egypt: Seeking Safety

Amid the ebb and flow of fighting in eastern Libya, a steady stream of people continues to seek shelter in Egypt and other neighbouring countries. They tell their stories.
Egypt: Stranded at the BorderPlay video

Egypt: Stranded at the Border

Thousands of people are stranded at Egypt's Sallum border crossing with Libya. Many of them are migrant workers, like these exhausted Bangladeshi men.
Egypt: Egyptians Cross Back HomePlay video

Egypt: Egyptians Cross Back Home

A steady stream of people have been crossing into Egypt from Libya. These migrant workers were elated to return home.