Egypt is committed to providing security and all services to refugees and asylum seekers in the country, an assistant to the foreign minister said, affirming the need to maintain equality among all refugees, regardless of their nationalities.
On Monday, the Egyptian foreign ministry held an event to launch a regional strategy to respond to and support Syrian refugees residing in Egypt and to empower communities hosting them. The ministry also launched a 2020-2021 plan to respond to refugees and asylum seekers from subsaharan Africa, Iraq and Yemen.
Egypt has received refugees and asylum requests from 58 countries, including Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Iraq, the ministry said in a Monday statement.
Ehab Fawzy, the Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs and International Security, called for international aid to be allocated to Egypt to take care of the refugees it hosts.
He said that Egypt has hosted millions of people who were forced to flee armed conflicts in their countries, adding that these people benefit from all the services provided by the Egyptian government, just like Egyptian citizens.
Fawzy said that international aid for refugees and host communities is in line with commitments to the Global Compact on Refugees of 2018, which highlights the principle of sharing responsibility and supporting host countries in bearing the burden of hosting refugees.
Richard Dictus, UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, and Karim Atassi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Representative to Egypt, also participated in the event along with a number of ambassadors to Egypt, and representatives of international organizations and civil society groups.
Atassi hailed the efforts by the Egyptian government to host refugees and ensure they enjoy basic services. He said that Egypt has not yet received international assistance consistent with the cost it bears to receive refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.
Dictus asked donor states to provide support to Egypt and said the UN is keen to coordinate with all agencies available in Egypt to ensure access to the most vulnerable categories of refugees and migrants, especially in light of the coronavirus crisis and its critical implications on the economy and society.
Egypt hosts 249,709 registered refugees and asylum-seekers from 57 countries, according to a fact sheet published by the UNHCR in August 2019. Syrians represent more than half of the figure with a population of 130,371, followed by Sudanese at 45,106 and South Sudanese at 17,197. The agency said funds requested for refugee operations in Egypt were $104.2 million as of August 2019.