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UN: Egypt Not Allowing Access To Detained Asylum Seekers

Joseph Mayton - AHN Middle East Correspondent

Cairo, Egypt (AHN) - Egypt is continuing to receive criticism over the forced deportation of Eritrean asylum seekers from international refugee organizations. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Cairo has not given its staff access to the Eritreans, despite earlier claims it would.

"We are asking for unhindered access to all persons seeking asylum currently in detention," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis said in a statement.

Her comments come as Egypt has already sent at least 600 Eritreans back to their home country and is expected to deport another 600 this coming week.

Egyptian officials said last week that it would grant the UNHCR staff in the country full and free access to Eritreans currently being held in detention to determiner their status, but the UNHCR reports that this has yet to happen.

A team did visit two detention centers in Aswan, southern Egypt, but said they met with only 142 Eritreans and 19 Ethiopians. The U.N. refugee agency said they have "credible reports" that the number of detained asylum seekers is much higher.

"UNHCR teams also went to other detention locations in Egypt but were unable to obtain access. In some instances they were asked to bring specific permission from prison authorities, while at others they were informed by the authorities that Eritrean asylum seekers were no longer present," Pagonis said.


Source: AHN, Global News for the digital world

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