Five Syrian nationals of Palestinian origin are being held at Cairo International Airport, four of them since 16 October and one since 23 October, to be possibly deported to Syria or Gaza, said an Amnesty International statement on Monday.
They are Mohamed Fareed Yousef, 29, Khalid Jamal Salman, 25, Riham Hassan Mahmoud, 19, her brother Mohamed Aldurra Mahmoud, 14, and their cousin Ahmad Abbas. All five left Syria in 2013 to escape the civil war and subsequently lived in Egypt, after which they moved to Gaza. After the 50-day conflict between Gaza and Israel last summer, they returned to Egypt in search of refuge.
The refugees were detained by Egyptian authorities as they left Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, reported Amnesty International. The refugees are said to lack the relevant documents allowing them to remain legally in the country.
“According to one of the refugees, they have been sleeping on the floor and eating only one meal per day, as they have limited financial resources,” the statement said.
The human rights group called on Egyptian authorities “to provide international protection for those fleeing serious human rights violations and the armed conflict in Syria”. It also called for the authorities to abide by the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1969 Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa.
The United Nation Refugee Agency estimates there are over 140,000 Syrian refugees in Egypt, which includes Palestinian refugees who had been living in Syria.
Many refugees in Egypt have limited access to basic services and have faced violence and discrimination, as well as arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention, according to Amnesty International.