Cairo – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has published UNHCR: Seven Decades in Egypt: a book that sheds light on the generosity and hospitality of the people and Government in Egypt in hosting refugees since the early 20th century and the partnership between UNHCR and the Government in the protection of people forced to flee.
The history of UNHCR in Egypt mirrors the constant change and adaptation that has defined UNHCR’s development as an organization. In 1954, when UNHCR established its presence in Cairo, it was a fledgling organization with a restrictive mandate and limited resources. Events that year marked a turning point, however, with the entry into force of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the award of the Nobel Peace Prize received by UNHCR for its work in Europe during the immediate post-war years.
UNHCR’s presence in Egypt has also run in parallel to the development of Egypt from a young republic to a major political force in the Arab world, with significant milestones in recent forced displacement history: Decolonization and the adoption of the 1967 Optional Protocol and the OAU Convention in 1969, resettlement in the context of the October War, African arrivals in the 1970s and 1980s, refugees in urban settings in the 1990s, and the 2000s’ wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
“From the outset, UNHCR has operated in Egypt at the invitation of its government. This book is a testament to a partnership that, since 1954, has been based on sincere cooperation and frank dialogue. It is a record of our achievements but also the challenges that we have encountered along the way in ensuring that some of the world’s most vulnerable populations are assisted and protected,” said Pablo Mateu, UNHCR Representative to the Government of Egypt and the League of Arab States.
The book will be launched at an event in Cairo on 30 November in the presence of Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Ms Gillian Triggs.
The book is available in hard copy upon request from UNHCR and can be downloaded here.
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