More than 137,000 registered Syrian refugees in Egypt: UNHCR
Syrian refugees - REUTERS/Mahmoud Hebbo

CAIRO: A total 137,063 Syrian refugees have been registered in Egypt since the outbreak of the crisis in Syria as of May 6, 2014, and the number is expected to climb to 150,000 by December 2013, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

“Egypt provides asylum to Syrians due to the violence and instability in Syria, but in case everything is back to normal in Syria, [Syrians] would not be recognized as refugees,” Youm7 reported George Fahmy, Senior Refugee Law Training Associate at the U.N. Refugee Agency, as saying at a Wednesday workshop organized by the Ministry of Justice.

“They would have to return to their countries or be treated as foreigners,” Fahmy said.

The human rights department at the Ministry of Justice organized the workshop to determine the status of a refugee and his rights and duties, and to discuss asylum under the Egyptian legislation, and international protection of refugees, Egypt News website reported.

The workshop aims to discuss the legislative amendments related to refugees’ conditions in Egypt and their rights to work, housing and education, assistant to the Minister of Justice Ahmed al-Sergany told Youm7.

Egypt is a signatory to the 1951 convention and the 1967 protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, as well as the 1969 convention of the Organization of African Unity on refugee problems in Africa.

The workshop, conducted in coordination with the U.N. Refugee Agency, was attended by 220 judges and prosecutors, according to Egypt News.

Syrian women are “trafficked under the guise of marriage,” said undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice’s human rights department Ahmed Aboul Enain, adding that while the marriage might be “legitimate,” it is in fact a “crime.”

“The poor conditions and state of weakness through which Syrian women are going makes many people exploit them by marrying them,” Aboul Enain said at the workshop.

Syrian students are allowed the same access to education in Egypt as their Egyptian counterparts. An estimated 75,000 Syrian refugees in Egypt are minors, according to UNICEF.

Only an estimated 31,000 of those children, however, are enrolled in Egyptian schools, according to the Ministry of Education. Syrian parents in Egypt struggle to pay school fees, and the Egyptian system, already hard-pressed for funds to serve Egyptian students, is unable to handle the demand.

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