As of 31 March, 261,701 refugees and asylum-seekers from 62 countries were registered with UNHCR Egypt, half of whom are from Syria.
Most refugees and asylumseekers in Egypt live in urban areas of Greater Cairo and on the North Coast.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, UNHCR adapted its activities to the changing circumstances, maintaining critical assistance and protection support.
▪ On 28 February 2021, Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) launched a dedicated website to register for COVID-19 vaccination. Refugees and asylum-seekers are able to register on the platform using the identity document issued by UNHCR. UNHCR health partners are offering registration support, with 78 refugees and asylum-seekers assisted in March. Among them was a Syrian 57-year old woman with a chronic medical condition who received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in a public health facility on 26 March. This marked the first COVID-19 vaccination of a refugee in Egypt that UNHCR is aware of.
▪ In February, UNHCR significantly increased its processing capacity at the registration facilities in 6th of October City, Zamalek and Alexandria. Remodeled waiting areas and interview rooms allowed UNHCR to process registration requests for a higher number of individuals in a safe manner. In March alone, UNHCR was able to process 7,624 cases (19,300 individuals) for various registration interviews, including 1,950 individuals for new registration, 15,987 individuals for document renewal, 1,217 individuals for add-ons and 146 individuals for other registration interviews. Prioritization continued to take place for vulnerable persons and protection cases.
A new digital queuing system developed by UNHCR Egypt was tested and piloted in both registration centers in Greater Cairo. The queuing system ensures proper management of process flows and contributes to social distancing measures.
In the first quarter of 2021, UNHCR’s Field Office Alexandria conducted four mobile registration missions to Damietta and Matrouh governorates to register and renew the documents of 1,493 refugees and asylum-seekers.
▪ On 1 March, UNHCR Egypt participated in the second edition of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, participated in a session on ‘Addressing Forced Displacement in National Planning and Peace Processes:
Localizing the Paradigm Shift to Prevention in Africa’. UNHCR remains a Knowledge Partner in the Aswan Forum.
▪ On 15 February, UNHCR held a one-day roundtable discussion on key elements of comparative asylum law and asylum institutions, with representatives of key government sectors in Egypt. Discussions covered various issues including guiding principles and key provisions of asylum law in various countries, as well as guiding principles for RSD and a comparative overview of different national asylum systems and institutions. The establishment and management of RSD institutions and systems was also discussed, and an overview was provided of the current RSD system in Egypt. Meeting members further looked into suggestions and recommendations for a capacity development plan for concerned authorities.