- Title: African asylum seekers struggling in Egypt
- Date: 26th October 2016
- Summary: MISRATA, LIBYA (FILE) (REUTERS) EGYPTIAN ILLEGAL WORKERS GATHERED IN THE COURTYARD OF THE DETENTION CENTRE VARIOUS OF EGYPTIAN ILLEGAL WORKERS AGADEZ, NIGER (FILE) (REUTERS) (MUTE) VARIOUS OF TRUCKS CARRYING MIGRANTS GOING TO DJADO, A TOWN 1000KM NORTH-EAST OF AGADEZ AGADEZ REGION, NIGER (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS STRANDED IN DESERT, 300 KM FROM TOWN OF DIRKOU, AFTER THEIR TRUCK BROKE DOWN
- Embargoed: 10th November 2016 11:14
- Keywords: asylum seekers conflict migration Sahara migrants
- Location: CAIRO, EGYPT/MISRATA, LIBYA/AGADEZ, NIGER
- City: CAIRO, EGYPT/MISRATA, LIBYA/AGADEZ, NIGER
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00255N3EQD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: As the world concentrates on the huge flow of Syrian migrants into Europe, some refugees from Africa feel they are being overlooked.
Sumaya, from Sudan, is one such refugee. She was arrested by Egyptian authorities while attempting to reach Italy via a sea crossing.
She was hoping to reach Europe to be reunited with her husband, who fled Sudan before her. Sumaya has now been living in Cairo for two years.
"There is no money, there is no one, there is no house, there is no husband, no family, no babies, there is no anything. I cannot waiting here," she said.
To make matters worse, she lost all her official papers during her attempted crossing to Italy, and is struggling to acquire new ones in Cairo.
Out of about 190,000 asylum seekers and refugees in Egypt, more than one third come from African countries.
Since 2014, there has been a steady increase in the number of interceptions of refugees and migrants trying to leave Egypt in an irregular manner, according to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR).
This year over 4,600 foreign nationals, predominantly Sudanese, Somalis, Eritreans and Ethiopians, have been arrested for attempting irregular departure from the Northern Coast, a 28 percent increase in departures seen in 2015.
The loss of life faced by refugees and migrants on Mediterranean smuggling routes has increased.
Sumaya has tried the sea route to Europe four times. On her latest attempt, the boat she was in capsized and hundreds drowned.
"I cannot forget the people dying in front of my eyes. Dying! They tried to catch me, and try to take me and they died. And the body come, I am swimming and the dead body is swimming with me. I cannot forget this all my life. I cannot," she said.
Sumaya's UNHCR asylum seeker application will take months to be processed, but she says she will try her luck again with the smugglers.
Egypt passed legislation last week to crack down on people traffickers linked to a major surge in the numbers of migrants departing from the country's Mediterranean coast on often disastrous sea journeys to Europe.
Egypt already had a law against human trafficking but the new legislation deals more specifically with illegal migrants. Migration experts who saw the law in draft form said it was clearer than previous statutes and could make it easier to prosecute smugglers and others involved in their networks.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said last month that more than 3,200 migrants had died while trying to cross the Mediterranean this year, while more than 300,000 had reached European shores. More than 1 million Middle Eastern, African and Asian migrants entered Europe in 2015.
The IOM said the number of migrants to arrive in Europe this year likely will not reach last year's level - but the number of fatalities was virtually certain to exceed the 2015 total.
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