Home | Press Releases    Friday 27 August 2004

SHRO-Cairo Press Release on the Peaceful Assembly of Sudanese Refugees at the UN Refugee Office in Cairo

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SHRO-CAIRO

Press Release
Cairo — August 26, 2004

Hundreds of Sudanese refuges and refuge applicants gathered at the United Nations Refuge Office of al-Muhandiseen district in Cairo, about 9 a.m. yesterday, Wednesday’s morning, August 25, 2004.

The demonstrators aimed to deliver a new Memorandum to the UN officials including among other claims a call on the Office to:

- Cancel a previous decision aimed to stop receiving refuge applications from the Sudanese in Egypt for six months until December 2004;

- Cancel a previous decision to reduce the financial aid of the refugees, as well as the refuge applicants, except for families with 7 members or more - in addition to the mother and the father; and

- Cancel the Office decision that pays only 50% health insurance to the recipient refugee.

The refugees were carrying banners calling for "stoppage of the unfair decisions, salvage our lives today, yes to refugee camps - no to emptying apartments,’ and an appeal: "the children of Sudan cry of sickness and hunger."

Regrettably, the UN officials refused to receive the refugees’ memo. The officials, moreover, asked by an immediate contact with the refugee affairs at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for security intervention to disassemble the demonstrators.

The intervention of the security forces by the use of tar gas and physical violence led to clashes resulting in the hurt of a number of refugees of whom at least 2 persons received medical attention at the Um Baba Hospital. Ten members of the security forces were also hurt, according to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior.

Preliminary information indicates that 15 refugees have been detained, soon after the demonstration that continued for many hours. All yesterday night and this morning, the arrests included at least 22 persons from their homes and other places. The detainees were charged with the acts of causing riot by unlawful assembly, destroying public as well as private property, assaulting public officials, and breaching the public order. The detainees were further detained for 15 renewable days.

The Sudan Human Rights Organization Cairo Office is gravely concerned for the occurrence of this violent confrontation. The Organization regrettably denounces the way the UN Office dealt with the peaceful gathering of the refugees and refugee applicants and the refusal of the office to receive the refugees’ memo, in addition to the appeal of the UN Refugee Office appeal to the security force to disassemble the demonstrators from the very place that is publicly entrusted with the humanitarian task of providing protection, security, and welfare to the refugees and the refuge applicants.

The reasons that motivated these Sudanese nationals to leave the Homeland are still existent.

SHRO-Cairo strongly supports the refugees’ and the refugee applicants’ call on the UN Office to cancel the decision of suspending their cases.

The Organization calls on the Office to provide the stipends and the medical care that the refugees need.

SHRO-Cairo calls on the United Nations Office to intervene for the immediate release of the detained refugees and to provide legal aid for that purpose in compliance with the Office mandate.

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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