UNHCR shocked, saddened over Cairo deaths

Geneva, Friday 30 December 2005

UNHCR expressed deep shock and sadness Friday over a violent confrontation in Cairo between Egyptian police and Sudanese protesters that left several people dead and injured.

Up to 2,500 Sudanese had been demonstrating in Cairo's Mostafa Mahmoud Park since September 29, primarily to protest living conditions and to demand that they be resettled to third countries. Throughout this period, UNHCR maintained a constant dialogue and several mediation efforts, always emphasising that such situations needed to be resolved peacefully.

"I am deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic events early today in Cairo," High Commissioner António Guterres said in Geneva. "Although we still do not have all of the details or a clear picture of what transpired, violence left several people dead and injured. There is no justification for such violence and loss of life. This is a terrible tragedy and our condolences go to all the families of those who died and to the injured."