Amnesty International: Egypt detains, mistreats Syrian refugees

Oct. 17, 2013 at 5:51 PM
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CAIRO, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Egypt has been rounding up Syrian refugees, detaining them and in some cases returning them to Syria, Amnesty International charged Thursday.

The group released a short report, "'We cannot live here any more': Refugees from Syria in Egypt," and called on the Egyptian government to start aiding those fleeing the civil war in Syria.

"Instead of offering vital help and support to refugees from Syria the Egyptian authorities are arresting and deporting them, flouting human rights standards. Most refugees lost their homes and livelihoods when they fled Syria. Failing to help and protect them is a stain on the reputation of Egypt and could seriously damage its image as a key stakeholder in the region," said Sherif Elsayed Ali, Amnesty's director of refugee and migrants' rights.

The United Nations estimates about 2 million Syrians have fled the country, most of them to Turkey, Jordan and other neighbors. More than 4 million have been forced out of their homes but are still in Syria.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that Egypt has arrested 964 people trying to reach Europe by boat, with its navy intercepting 13 vessels, Amnesty International said.

Amnesty investigators who made an unannounced visit to a police station in Alexandria found 40 Syrian detainees, 10 of them children, the report said.

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