How Egypt makes millions of refugees feel at home



Wed, 30 Oct 2019 - 07:12 GMT


Wed, 30 Oct 2019 - 07:12 GMT

Traditional delicacies. A Syrian man work at a Syrian restaurant in 6 October City in Giza. (Reuters)

Traditional delicacies. A Syrian man work at a Syrian restaurant in 6 October City in Giza. (Reuters)

CAIRO – 30 October 2019: As Egypt has embraced around five million refugees, according to President Abdel Fattah al-sisi, the word “lage’ (refugee)” is normally abandoned in the Egyptian culture when referring to non-Egyptians living in Egypt.

Egypt has not build any camps for refugees, and has not allowed any boat to leave Egypt with refugees on board toward Europe, Sisi said.

The refugees in Egypt do not live on aid or wait for food from any international or local organization. They are allowed to work, get the necessary licenses to open restaurants and many other buildings.

Refugees in Egypt, including people from East Asia and Africa, has increased especially after the civil wars and political disturbance, which were sparked during the last ten years. Refugees in Egypt usually come from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Palestine.

Concerning the legal position, Egypt has been defending human rights for refugees, participated in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and signed a number of international treaties in this regard, including the 1951 Refugee Convention.

In education, non-Egyptians are allowed, while staying in Egypt, to choose between studying the Egyptian curriculum or the curriculum of their own country inside their schools or the embassies they belong to. In the event they chose to learn the Egyptian curriculum, they have to obtain an ID from the high commissioner in Egypt, which would pay them the school and university fees.

Syrians in Egypt
Especially since the Syrian war started in 2011, Egyptians have welcomed Syrians to live among them, and launch small and medium projects. President Sisi last year affirmed welcoming refugees “who all live [in Egypt] like Egyptians, without discrimination between us and them.” He addressed the Syrian refugees, saying that “Egypt is their country.”

Egyptians and Syrians share many similar traditions, religious values and even the taste in food; Many Egyptians fell in love with the Syrian version of Shawarma which they have favored over the Shawarma they have been familiar with.

Amid recent allegations questioning the integrity of the Syrian investors, and calls to monitor their investments, earlier this year, many Egyptians including celebrities have launched campaigns to defend their Syrian “brothers,” including starting hashtag “Syrians are [welcomed] in Egypt.”



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