Egypt: Don’t Force Palestinians Back to Syria (Human Rights Watch)
Two Palestinians being held at the Cairo airport, apparently refused entry to Egypt, are at risk of deportation to Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. The man and his son would face indiscriminate violence and possible persecution if returned to Syria. The Egyptian authorities should not to return anyone to Syria at this time.
It appears that some asylum seekers arriving from Syria in Egypt are at risk of refoulement, forced return to Syria, Human Rights Watch said. Egyptian airport officials deported two Syrian men back to Syria on January 13, 2013, in violation of Egypt’s non-refoulement obligations. In mid-December, immigration officials halted an attempted deportation of 13 Syrians at the last minute.
“Egypt may have a right to detain people temporarily or investigate them on grounds of false documentation but it may not under any circumstance return them to Syria,” said Bill Frelick, Refugee Program director at Human Rights Watch. “Egypt is obligated under international law not to return anyone, regardless of status, to a place where they would be persecuted.”
The authorities should allow representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to visit the two men, Human Rights Watch said. The Palestinians told credible sources that they had entered Egypt from Syria using their official Palestinian refugee travel documents with the rest of their family.