Tags: Egypt Unrest | Syria | syria | egypt | palestinian | refugees

Syrian, Palestinian Refugees Held in Egypt Begin Hunger Strike

Friday, 22 Nov 2013 09:49 AM


CAIRO — Dozens of refugees from Syria detained in an Egyptian police station began a hunger strike on Friday to draw attention to their plight, several of them said.

The United Nations refugee agency confirmed that 52 refugees of Syrian and Palestinian origin had refused to receive food delivered by a UNHCR-funded charity to the police station where they are held in the coastal city of Alexandria.

Among the detainees are 21 children, including 14-month-old twin girls, and eight women.

"We will not eat until we die or until we are allowed to go to any country that will accept us," a 52-year-old man said by phone from the police station in the coastal city of Alexandria.

Like about half the refugees in the police station, the man, who asked not to be named, is a Syrian-born Palestinian.

The United Nations says the Egyptian government has refused to let it register Palestinians from Syria as refugees and give them the yellow card that allows them temporary residence.

As a result, hundreds of Palestinians are detained in police stations, with nowhere else to go.

Another refugee sent a text message that read: "We are appealing to the international community in the name of humanity. We are searching for a secure homeland that can provide protection and care for our children and women."

The Egyptian authorities have apprehended about 1,500 Syrian refugees in the last few months and about 1,200 of them have been "coerced to leave," Human Rights Watch said last week.

Those with Syrian passports left Egypt for refugee camps in other countries in the region. The Palestinians have been given no option but to camp out in a police station indefinitely, or somehow make their way back to the war zone in Syria.

Most of the 1,500 refugees detained by the authorities were seized while trying to flee by boat to Italy. Although courts have ordered their release, the authorities say they are being held for immigration violations.

Many of those now on hunger strike were captured at sea on Sept. 17 by the Egyptian navy, which fired on their rickety, overloaded craft, killing two refugees.

The group was moved this month to the police station in Alexandria, where families sleep on blankets on cement floors.

"We are being held in inhumane conditions and our women and children are suffering the psychological consequences," said the Syrian-born Palestinian.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said he was not aware of the hunger strike.

Of the 2 million refugees who have fled Syria's civil war, some 300,000 went to Egypt, where they were received warmly during Islamist President Mohammed Morsi's year in office. Syrians who could not afford to stay in Lebanon or Turkey said Egypt had become an attractive option.

Days after the army toppled Morsi in July, the new military-backed governments tightened the "open door" visa policy for Syrians. Arrests and deportations of refugees, some of whom had not bothered to formalize their stays, followed.

Public sentiment also turned against Syrians and Palestinians, who began to be portrayed in the Egyptian media as "terrorists" who had backed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Israeli Intel Unit Drops Soldiers Who Refused to Spy on Palestinians

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 14:13 PM

Israel's top military electronic surveillance unit expelled dozens of veterans on Monday for refusing to spy on Palestin . . .

Islamic State Group Pushed out of Syria's Kobani

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 13:16 PM

Kurdish fighters backed by intense U.S.-led airstrikes pushed the Islamic State group entirely out of a key Syrian town  . . .

Egypt Revolt Anniversary Death Toll Rises to 20: Officials

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 07:46 AM

The death toll from clashes between protesters and police as Egypt marked the fourth anniversary of its 2011 uprising ha . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved