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Sudanese refugees ‘harassed’ by Egypt authorities

Middle East and North Africa

Sudanese refugees ‘harassed’ by Egypt authorities

Egyptian President. Photo credit: Wiki

In December 2017, several hundred Sudanese refugees in Egypt – among them many Christians – were harassed, arrested, detained, and sometimes subject to violence, from Egyptian authorities, according to a Christian agency.

The “social environment in Egypt [seems] less and less welcoming, both to Sudanese nationals and Christians.”

Sudanese Christians are even beginning to fear attending worship. “Even the churches are giving reports to governments. And so, they’re kind of colluding with the government. And even the police sometimes even come to the church or into the church to arrest people,” Faisal, a Sudanese Christian refugee says.

Faisal believes that the mass arrests and abuse have been focused on people who have submitted applications to the UN and those who have applied for refugee status.

He says it is a tactic to scare the Sudanese nationals, because other nationalities, he says, do not receive the same treatment. Faisal’s story is quite common. According to his translator, when Faisal went to the police station to see his arrested relatives, the authorities “arrested him and … they were beating him.”

One of the police officers beating him said: “We’re not scared of the States. The States can’t do anything to us. And the States doesn’t want to accept you. They don’t want you. We’re not scared.”

Sudanese Christians are fleeing their home country, both to escape the conflict and the official religious persecution from the Islamist government.

Most of the refugees are from the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile and cannot return home due to the genocidal jihad being waged by the government against its oldest Christian region for over 34 years.

“If you try to go back, they assume that you are related to what they consider the rebel movement and they will kill you on the way,” says Philemon.

The government is trying to wipe out Christianity from the country. Faisal adds that “even if you want to get an ID in Sudan, you have to use a Muslim name.”

Despite the increasingly hostile environment, refugees continue to arrive in Egypt, because, as Faisal says: “This is the closest country that [we] can come to.”

Another refugee says: “We just pray that God will be kind to us. We don’t have a future here in Egypt. Our children don’t have a future here. We don’t have a future in Sudan. If we go back to Sudan, we could die. And the UN doesn’t always help us with our problems. And so, there’s nothing we can do except to pray.”