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Sudanese refugee protest at UNHCR-Cairo ends tragically

March 10, 2006

At least eleven children and 16 adults were among the dead when a late December 2005 police raid violently ended the months-long Sudanese protest outside UNHCR’s office in Cairo. The police arrested, and then threatened to deport, around 650 Sudanese, most them refugees. The UNHCR negotiated with Egyptian authorities for weeks to prevent their deportation. The last of the protestors were released in February 2006.

Faced with government threats to the refugees, UNHCR began individual refugee status determination of the detainees, working under short deadlines imposed by the government. This broke with UNHCR’s two-year-old policy of granting temporary protection to all Sudanese in Egypt, and required UNHCR to decide cases in weeks that would normally take months.

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