Cairo, 14 March 2022 – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, alongside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organized a two-day joint roundtable – the third of its nature – in support of the drafting process of the Asylum Law in Egypt on 13 – 14 March 2022.
The roundtable was jointly inaugurated by Minister Plenipotentiary Ms. Neveen El-Husseiny, Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for Migration, Refugee Affairs and Anti Human Trafficking at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Pablo Mateu, UNHCR Representative to Egypt and to the League of Arab States.
In the opening remarks, Minister Plenipotentiary Ms. El-Husseiny reiterated the role Egypt is playing in hosting refugees, and the services offered particularly in the fields of health and education and highlighted the importance of cooperation between UNHCR and the Ministry. Ms. El-Husseiny also noted that the roundtable is a continuation of a series of joint capacity development activities undertaken jointly by UNHCR and the Government of Egypt. Mr. Mateu commended Egypt for its generosity in hosting refugees. He added that positive progress has been made over time, and that UNHCR stands ready to provide all the needed support to the Government of Egypt on protection-related issues in general, and on the adoption of an asylum law and thereafter in particular.
On day one of the roundtable, renowned law professor Dr. Ibrahim Daraji explained the basis of refugee systems, while UNHCR Deputy Representative, Ms. Aseer Al Madaien, spoke in detail about the elements required for transitioning refugee status determination (RSD) and other elements from UNHCR to the government, providing various specific examples including Kenya, Morocco, Thailand and Turkey. This was complemented by a presentation on the various steps of reception and registration of refugees and asylum-seekers. During the second day, Dr. Daraji provided a refresher session on the definition of a refugee and the associated legal framework, followed by an overview on RSD, sources of information and the detailed interview process in this respect, as well as data protection and policy presented by UNHCR’s protection team.
The roundtable was concluded with a panel discussion held with the attendees by Minister Plenipotentiary Ms. El-Husseiny, and Mr. Mateu, facilitated by Ms. Al Madaien, where issues in relation to the way forward, foreseen challenges, UNHCR’s role and means of support were discussed.
Fifteen participants from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Interior, Parliamentary Affairs and the Public Prosecutor’s Office participated in the two-day roundtable held in Cairo.