24 June, 2014
The inhuman Situation of Sudanese Refugees in Egypt
Sudanese refugees in Egypt are suffering severely due to the abysmal inhuman conditions they live in the host country (Egypt). This includes the suffering in access to food, in finding suitable housing, in work exploitation under unjust conditions and in escalation of psychiatric diseases among women and children-;- not to mention depriving Sudanese refugees of freedom of movement and freedom of worship. UNHCR-Cairo authorizes its partner organizations to provide services to refugees under the influence of racial discrimination against Sudanese refugees and lack of transparency and participation.
Providing of health and financial allowances to refugees is one of the primary duties of Caritas organization (one of UNHCR s partners in Egypt), which receives funding from UNHCR to provide these services. The above mentioned organization is registered at the Ministry of Social Solidarity under the number 1150 for the year 1967, and employs Egyptians in Refugees field as: employees, workers, doctors, social workers, security men ... etc., at a rate ranging between 95% to 100%, in all procedures and interviews with Sudanese refugees. But some refugees are working in lower jobs and in interpretation of African languages. Caritas has stopped providing medical services to patients with kidney failure, cancer and stopped high-cost surgical operations such as heart surgery. It has also stopped dental services (except removal of teeth and molars).
Finally! Even Caritas stopped providing financial allowances to a large number of vulnerable individual cases and Sudanese families without a breadwinner-;- also linked between the providing of these services (as other UNHCR Partner organizations did) and the existence of residence stamping in their UNHCR refugee card. The maximum of the financial allowances for critical individual cases is 600 Egyptian pounds per person and 1,200 Egyptian pounds per large families (about -$- 86 for vulnerable individuals and -$- 171 for large families), which do not cover the basic needs of individuals and families under the conditions of inflation in Egypt, not even cover the housing expenses. Those measures eventually lead to an increase in mortality rates among Sudanese refugees.
It is well known that the residence permit for the Sudanese refugees is six months only, similar to the one of the Sudanese citizens who is not, where refugees pay money to the Egyptian state every six months for the residence permit. The residence procedures may take a period of 3 months and be implemented after ten days from the approval of the security-;- this practically postpone Sudanese refugees from the scarce services provided by Caritas and other partner organizations for several months. The other difference is that: women, the elderly and children, have no exception to residence as it goes with those categories from Sudan citizens. It is noticeable the existence of various complaints about the performance of Caritas, that include persistent complaints about the quality of these services and the racial discrimination against Sudanese refugees, who would even be subject to punishment when they confront the negative behavior by Caritas staff.
On the side of getting food, World Food Programme (WFP), provides food coupons under the control of the UNHCR-Cairo, to refugees from Syrian nationality, this does not include Sudanese and African refugees according to UNHCR- Cairo. PSTIC organization (pstic-egypt.org) is also a UNHCR partner organization which provides social and psychological care for each refugee in addition to emergency housing services (once for all) and training services in social and psychological field. The differences between (caritas-egypt.com) and (pstic-egypt.org) lies in the type of the staff, Caritas Egyptian staff range, is more than 90% but they take exception in a narrow range. Caritas refuses, for example, to provide training for Sudanese refugees in computer and languages-;- because of allegations (from their side), that the Sudanese refugees don’t like such trainings! At the same time, the Sudanese refugees complain from racial discrimination in services and say “the discrimination has reached training and education”, meanwhile (pstic-egypt.org) is characterized by multi-national staff and somewhat there are numerous refugees among its staff.
CRS Organization (crs.org / countries / egypt), is also a UNHCR partner. It has been invited by President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956 to provide food relief to Egyptians-;- and now they are funded by UNHCR-Cairo to provide education grants to pre-university education for refugees as well as assistance through livelihood program which is headed by an Egyptian citizen called Tariq Sheta. The program (headed by Sheta) provides services of training, employment and gives small business grants that do not exceed 3,000 Egyptian pounds (about U.S. -$- 400) from which they deduct 350 Egyptian pounds as transfer fee to attend one week training course about the Small Business Administration for refugees. This program, also provide recruitment with salaries “less than usual” in such types of hard-work, and issue work permit for Sudanese refugees-;- where the Four Freedoms between Sudan and Egypt is not activated by the Egyptian state. Egyptians employed at the CRS refugee livelihood program range between 95% and 100% so, it solves the problem of unemployment among the Egyptians, not among the refugees, and of course this undermines the alleged idea of recruitment of refugees!
On the side of educational services at pre-university level, the Sudanese refugees have the right to enter the Egyptian schools, but families of Sudanese refugees and their children complain of racial discrimination committed by the students, the teachers´-or-even by the Egyptians in the street during the students’ journey to and from their school. That includes giving them less degree than their apparent academic achievement in the classrooms. Psychiatric disease cases (documented) have emerged among refugee women and children from North Sudan, due to racial discrimination.
It worth mentioning, that the contract formula provided by the CRS livelihood program does not include “equal pay for equal work”´-or-compensation for work-related injuries. This is well known as "work exploitation" which is a type of human trafficking. The jobs of domestic workers, that CRS provides, result in forced sex for many women, but few of them dare talk about that due to threats of fabricating theft crimes against them, not paying their wages´-or-even threatening to kill them. The facilitating and funding of such practices under the known circumstances of refugees in Egypt involves each of UNHCR- Cairo, and the host country in various violations of regional and international agreements, especially basic human rights agreements. Not to mention other practices by the CRS in the Livelihood Program which can be classified as severe corruption!
In the same context, the refugees may stay in the host country for periods up to 15 years, deprived of freedom of movement and Pilgrimage (for Muslims and Christians)´-or-even Umrah, for Muslims, the matter which make the two parties who monopolize the procedures (the recommendations mainly) and the issuance of 1951 Convention Travel Document (known as CTD) involved in practices of violation of freedom of movement and freedom of worship.
On the other hand, the budget details of the above mentioned UNHCR partner organizations are not on their official websites.
Participation, Equality, and Transparency are the solution
Middle, North & East Sudan Refugees Committee (MNERC)
Tuesday, 24 June, 2014