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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Egypt Deports Eritrean Refuges-Some to Their Death

More Deportations To Come

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address www.www.persecution.org. Contact Darara Gubo, Regional Manager for Africa, 1-800-ICC (422)-5441, darara@www.persecution.org

(June 19, 2008 ) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC)
www.www.persecution.org has learned that Egyptian authorities deported 400 Eritrean refugees last week on June 11 and 12. ICC also received reports of the deportation additional Eritreans after June 12.

The deportees face torture, prison and even execution on returning to Eritrea . When Malta deported over 200 Eritreans in 2002, they were imprisoned and tortured, and some were executed, according to eyewitness reports.

Eritrean Christians who had fled their country following a clamp down on Christians are among the deportees. According to ICC’s annual Hall of Shame Report for 2008, Eritrea is one of the world’s top ten worst Christian persecutors. There are more than 2,000 Christians that are detained in Eritrean prison cells, metal shipping containers and military barracks. (For the full text of ICC’s Annual Hall of Shame Report for 2008, go to: /suffering/html/Docs/ICCHallofShame2008.pdf)

In addition to facing deportation, many of the Eritreans in Egyptian refugee camps are routinely harassed by Egyptian authorities simply because of their Christian faith.

These [Eritrean] men, women and children, for example in Nasr al Nuba prison, to name, but one, are being beaten, tortured, and to add insult to injury, they are being verbally abused for being Christians even when they are not. There seems to be a dominant attitude among the prison guards that ‘Christians’ are less than human, and ‘do not deserve sunlight and fresh air’ or any kind of humane treatment,” said Elizabeth Chyrum, Director of Human Rights Concern Eritrea in a letter she wrote to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Eritrean Christian refugees living in Yemen also face similar discrimination for their faith. In a letter to ICC, some of the refugees said, “Sadly, many of us have to lie and pretend as a Muslims [sic] and in many occasions were forced to pray the Muslim’s prayers. In most cases, unfortunately, a Christian has to lie about his/her religion to be employed and if it was discovered that they were indeed, Christians, they would be immediately fired.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Darara Gubo, stated, “Egypt has to honor its obligations under international law not to deport refugees to countries where they could face torture and other violations of their rights due to their religion or political opinion. The UNHCR and other concerned international organizations, as well as the rest of the international community, should take urgent action to resettle the Eritrean refugees to other countries where they can enjoy freedom of religion.”

ICC attempted to contact the Egyptian Embassy in Washington D.C but the concerned embassy officials were not available to give explanations for deporting the Eritreans.

Christians can help their Eritrean brothers and sisters in Egypt by praying for them and by calling Egyptian embassies in their respective countries. Please politely ask the Egyptian embassy officials to stop deporting and harassing the Eritreans.

Please also call to the office of UNHCR and bring to their attention the plight of Eritrean Christians who are suffering in Egypt and Yemen . Please ask them to resettle the Eritreans in other countries where they can enjoy freedom of religion and other freedoms.

Egyptian Embassies

Country

Phone

Fax

Email

USA

202-895-5400

202-244-4319

Embassy@egyptembassy.net

Canada

613-234-4931

(613) 234-4398

egyptemb@sympatico.ca, egypt4931@rogers.com

UK

020-7499-2401 / 499 3304

020-7491-1542

info@egpressoffice.com

Australia

(61 2) 9281-4844

612-9281-4344

info@egypt.org.au

Germany

030-477-5470

030-477-1049

Embassy@egyptian-embassy.de

UNHCR

Mr Antonio Guterres
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Switzerland

Phone number: 41 22 739 8111

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ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.