Twelve people, believed to be refugees, were drowned in a shipwreck off the coast of Alexandria on Friday, according to human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
State-run Al Ahram reported that the ship was rescued by the Alexandria coast guard as it sank off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The coast guard was able to save 116 passengers: 40 Syrian refugees, 72 Palestinian refugees and four Egyptians.
Amnesty International said that the rescued passengers were first taken to a naval base and then a police station, but their current whereabouts are unknown.
Syrian refugees have faced many problems in Egypt, including discrimination and homelessness. Their conditions have been criticised by human rights groups.
“Refugees from Syria have fled the depths of despair to seek safety in Egypt. But instead of providing shelter and hope for a new life, the Egyptian authorities’ actions are compelling many refugees from Syria into life-threatening situations, including entrusting their lives to smugglers in order to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea,” said Amnesty International.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were 97,018 registered Syrian refugees living in Egypt as of September. A further 14,083 Syrians had made appointments to register with the UN agency.