Egypt is a destination country for refugees and asylum seekers of 58 different nationalities. The majority of them live in urban areas alongside the host communities.
Currently, 247,724 refugees and asylum-seekers are registered with UNHCR Egypt.
More than half of them (53 per cent) are from Syria.
UNHCR registers and documents refugees and asylum seekers, and facilitates their access to protection and basic services, such as health and education.
Working with Partners
UNHCR works closely with the Government of Egypt, United Nations agencies, international and national NGOs to provide protection and assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees. UNHCR leads the InterAgency Working Group (IAWG), the main refugee coordination mechanism which gathers representatives from UN agencies as well as international and national NGOs. The IAWG oversees six sectorial working groups: Protection, Education, Health, Cash assistance, Livelihoods, and Communication with Communities. The protection sector includes three sub-working groups which consists of Child Protection,
Prevention and Response to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), and Durable Solutions.
■ UNHCR Egypt registers and documents asylum-seekers and refugees on behalf of the Government of Egypt. The registration entails the use of biometric information, iris scanning and finger printing.
Identification and processing of persons with specific vulnerabilities, including unaccompanied children, are prioritized and carried out within 72 hours.
■ After registration, asylum-seekers and refugees are encouraged to approach the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Immigration of the Ministry of Interior in order to apply for a residence permit which will legalize their stay in Egypt. The residence permit is valid for six months and is renewable. However, the process to obtain and renew residence permits remains lengthy. UNHCR continues to advocate with the Government to extend the validity of the residence permit to one year.
■ UNHCR Egypt is the largest refugee status determination (RSD) operation globally and conducts RSD on behalf of the Government for all nationalities except for Syrians and Yemenis.
■ Refugees and asylum-seekers have access to legal remedies and representation through lawyers of NGO partners. Refugees and asylum-seekers arrested for administrative and residency related charges are provided with legal and humanitarian assistance. UNHCR also intervenes on their behalf with local authorities for release and to ensure that their claims for international protection are assessed.
■ UNHCR and partners provide special assistance and psychosocial support to children at risk, survivors of SGBV, and to those who have experienced or witnessed conflict, violence or trauma.
■ Around 38 per cent of the overall refugees and asylum-seekers in Egypt are children (94,184). Out of the total number of children, 3,264 are unaccompanied and separated children (UASC). UNHCR conducts Best Interest Assessments and prioritizes protection and assistance to UASC and other children at risk across all programmes through prevention and response activities and specialized services, including quality case management, strengthening of national child protection systems and (internal/external) capacity building.
■ UNHCR and partners provide targeted support to persons with specific needs through individual case management processes and community-based psychosocial support and emergency response.
Highly vulnerable persons with disability and older persons also benefit from targeted assistance that includes individual and group counselling, provision of assistive devices, and participation in social and recreational events aimed at breaking their isolation from communal activities.
■ On a daily basis, refugees have five access avenues to UNHCR: reception areas in the four UNHCR offices; two UNHCR info-lines; social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook); community interactions; and via partners directly working with UNHCR. Outside working hours, emergency contact lines are established with all UNHCR partners.
■ In addition to close coordination with partners, daily refugee counselling and case management are integral components of the office engagement with refugees and asylum-seekers.
■ UNHCR has in place internal integrity mechanisms, such as anti-fraud and complaints receipt systems, in order to ensure full adherence to the organisation’s principles, values, and guidelines.