CAIRO, June 22, 2018 (MENA) – Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed appreciation for the role played by some European countries, particularly Portugal, in their responsiveness with regard to Egypt’s efforts in confronting the issue of refugees and immigrants.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid told reporters that Lisbon recently proposed to resettle some 400 Egypt-based refugees in Portugal in 2018 and 2019 in full cooperation and coordination with the national parties concerned in Egypt.
Responding to questions by reporters about the Portuguese proposal, Abu Zeid said the Cairo-Lisbon fruitful cooperation comes within the framework of the current institutional dialogue between Egypt and the European Union on resettling refugees living in Egypt.
In this regard, he said the two sides’ meeting in Cairo in December 2017 included a recommendation that the European countries resettle a number of Egypt-based refugees, given that it is home to hundreds of thousands of them.
As a result of the recommendation, the UK, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands have resettled hundreds of refugees, Abu Zeid said.
CAIRO, June 20, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt said on Wednesday that the international community must share the burdens of hosting refugees within the framework of joint responsibility.
On his Twitter account, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid renewed Egypt's legal and ethical responsibility towards refugees living on its territories.
Despite economic burdens, Egypt is keen to merge refugees into society, he said.
Abu Zeid's remarks come on the occasion of the World Refugees Day.
The World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 every year to draw attention to the plight of displaced people around the globe.
Now, there are 68.5 million displaced persons in the world according to the UN refugee agency.
GENEVA, June 12, 2018 (News Wires) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) hopes the Lebanese foreign ministry will quickly reverse a decision to freeze residency applications the agency has submitted for its staff, its spokesman said on Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil ordered the freeze last week after accusing UNHCR of hindering the return of refugees to Syria by “spreading fear”.
Syrian refugees now account for around a quarter of the population of Lebanon - around one million are registered with the United Nations. The Lebanese government wants the refugees to start going home; the UN says it’s not yet safe for them to return.
Beirut is working with Damascus to arrange the return of thousands of refugees it says want to go back to Syria, a top Lebanese official said last month.
“We are very concerned about freezing the issuing of residence permits to international staff in Lebanon,” UNHCR spokesman Andre Mahecic said during a briefing in Geneva. “We hope that the decision of the foreign ministry will be reversed without delay.”
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has been calling for Syrian refugees to return to areas of the country he has described as secure. Aoun says this should happen before a final political solution to the seven-year-long war.
A conference on Syria hosted by the European Union and co-chaired by the United Nations in April said conditions remained unsafe.
“We do not oppose or discourage people returning, when they return based on their own decision and based on informed choice,” Mahecic said.
“It is the reality that some people are returning. They are making their decision to go back,” Mahecic said. “We have also in that regard ramped up our assistance inside Syria where we can be able to support those,” he said.
But fighting in Syria had escalated in a number of areas in the past months, he said, and “given the overall situation, we do not believe conditions are conducive to returns”.
BEIRUT, June 8, 2018 (News Wires) - Lebanon's caretaker foreign minister has ordered a freeze on the renewal of residency permits for the staff of the United Nations refugee agency, saying it is not encouraging Syrian refugees to return home.
Gibran Bassil said in a statement from his office Friday that UNHCR is scaring Syrian refugees in Lebanon from returning by asking them about compulsory military service, security conditions and whether they have a place to live.
Lebanon is home to more than a million Syrian refugees, or about a quarter of the country's population.
Bassil's statement came amid reports that some 3,000 Syrians are getting ready to head back home later this month.
Sentiments against Syrian refugees have been increasing, especially after groups calling for their return home made major gains in last month's parliamentary elections.
PARIS, June 8, 2018 (News Wires) - An Iraqi refugee in France thought to be a former senior member of the Islamic State group has been arrested in Paris and indicted on suspicion of "war crimes" over his alleged involvement in a massacre in his country.
The 33-year-old man, referred to as Ahmed H, is accused of having participated in the June 2014 capture and execution of an estimated 1,700 young, mainly Shiite army recruits from the Speicher military camp to the north of Tikrit.
Ahmed H was arrested in March and indicted days later on a range of charges including "killings in connection with a terrorist group" and "war crimes", and placed in pre-trial detention, the Paris prosecutor said.
The case highlights fears by Western intelligence agencies that jihadists have been able to take advantage of the migrant crisis to enter Europe.
Having arrived in France in the summer of 2016 Ahmed H obtained refugee status a year later and was given a 10-year resident card, a source close to the investigation said.
Shortly after being granted his refugee status, Ahmed H was identified and followed by intelligence services, who then notified judicial authorities.
According to a source close to the investigation, Ahmed H has denied any involvement.
French authorities have revoked his protected status since his incarceration.
The Camp Speicher massacre was considered one of IS's worst crimes after it took over large parts of Iraq in 2014.
One of the sites of the massacre was the former river police building inside former president Saddam Hussein's palace complex in Tikrit.
Video footage subsequently released by IS showed an assembly-line massacre in which gunmen herded their victims towards the quay, shot them in the back of the head and pushed them in the water one after the other.
ROME ,June 4, 2018(News Wires) - Italy will no longer be “Europe’s refugee camp”, newly installed interior minister Matteo Salvini said on Monday as he promised tough action to reduce migrant arrivals and send back those who have already come.
Salvini, head of the right-wing League and a deputy prime minister in the eurosceptic coalition, has made curbing immigration a clarion call of his party whose popularity is rising fast in opinion polls.
Two days after the government was sworn in on Friday, Salvini headed for Sicily, the main port of call for more than 600,000 migrants who have arrived on Italy’s shores from north Africa since 2014.
“The party is over,” for migrants in Italy, he said, before visiting a so-called “hotspot” or reception center, in the port of Pozzallo, where boat-borne arrivals are registered, photo-identified and fingerprinted.
The League says the vast majority of migrants in Italy have no right to refugee status, Italy cannot afford to help them and by accepting low pay they worsen the working conditions of Italians.
Salvini kept up the pressure on Monday, saying in a radio interview that Italy “can’t be transformed into a refugee camp,” and vowing to lobby Italy’s partners to obtain more EU assistance to handle the problem.
“It’s clear and obvious that Italy has been abandoned, now we have to see facts,” Salvini said, when asked about comments from German chancellor Angela Merkel that Europe needs a new approach on immigration.
Salvini, who wants to open a migrant detention and deportation center in every Italian region, later tweeted: “either Europe gives us a hand in making our country secure, or we will choose other methods.”
Italy has become the main route into Europe for economic migrants and asylum seekers, with hundreds of thousands making the perilous crossing from North Africa each year and thousands dying at sea. The other main route, from Turkey to Greece, was largely shut after more than 1 million people arrived in 2015.
After at least 48 migrants were killed at the weekend when their boat sank off Tunisia’s coast, Salvini said there was no reason for people to be fleeing Tunisia which was “a free and democratic country”.