Tarek Radwan, the chair of the Egyptian parliament’s Human Rights Committee, and Laurent M.J. De Boeck, chief of the United Nations’ International Organisation for Migration (UN IOM), met on Monday to discuss the measures required to fight the phenomenon of illegal migration.
Radwan said that Egypt is doing its best to combat illegal migration. “We do this in two ways, first by passing laws that toughen penalties on illegal migration practices and offenders, and second by implementing mega-development projects that can create jobs for young people and generate good income for them,” Radwan explained, referring in particular to the ‘Presidential Decent Life Initiative’, which aims to improve living conditions in the Egyptian countryside.
“Egypt is currently building 16 new communities to offer housing to people living in slum areas and to create jobs for young citizens,” he added.
Radwan also said he thinks that the number of illegal migrants stands at 6.3 million or a little bit more. “However, I don’t think that their number exceeds 20 million as some claim on social media,” said Radwan.
On his part, Chief of the UN IOM De Boeck said he is keen on holding discussions with Egyptian officials and parliamentarians on a regular basis to discuss the measures necessary to eliminate the phenomenon of illegal migration.
“Egypt has started fighting illegal migration since 2017, and it has [been successful] in this respect,” said De Boeck, adding that “legislation passed by the Egyptian parliament to fight illegal migration and human trafficking were [crucial to] this area.”
He added that “measures and initiatives taken by the Egyptian government also helped a lot of migrants who live in Egypt to have access to services that put them on equal footing with local citizens.”
De Boeck, however, indicated that greater efforts are needed to stop the flow of illegal migrants who come from Africa to cross the Mediterranean through countries like Egypt and Libya to go to Europe.
Some 11 Egyptian young people have lost their lives in the Mediterranean at the end of August while on board an illegal vessel travelling from Libya to Italy.