Resettlement in Germany for Group Previously Detained in Egypt

Egypt - Forty-two migrants, who had been detained in Egypt for several months, arrived in Kassel, Germany last week to be resettled under the German resettlement programme.

Accompanied by IOM representatives and officials from the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the group of Syrians and Palestinian-Syrians flew out of Borg El-Arab airport in Alexandria, Egypt on 16 June.                                                                                                       

Their arrival in Germany came several months after they had fled to Turkey, and had later been smuggled by sea with the intention of reaching an EU country, at the cost USD 6,000 per person in cash.

A week after departing from Turkey, they finally arrived in Alexandria, Egypt where they were apprehended by the Egyptian authorities and sent to a detention facility, Karmouz, after being charged with illegal entry to Egypt.

After the group was detained, the international community responded with advocacy and assistance, and several resettlement countries approached the Government of Egypt (GoE) for their release.

In May 2015, the GoE approved the request of three resettlement countries to interview a total of 70 migrants remaining in detention from this group (it is unclear where the rest of the group is), in addition to six other migrants from the same detention facility.

The GoE requested that all processing and operational aspects of the resettlement process be coordinated with IOM, as the GoE perceived them to be irregular migrants and not refugees.

Germany took the lead and with the assistance of IOM interviewed in May 42 migrants who were immediately approved for resettlement.

A month following the interviews in Karmouz, the chartered plane departed Borg El-Arab airport in Alexandria on the 16th of June with the facilitation and cooperation of the Egyptian authorities. The migrants arrived safely the same day at Kassel Airport at 16:00h where they were met by German authorities who will proceed with their reception and placement under the German resettlement programme.

“IOM wishes to thank the Egyptian authorities for their excellent cooperation, as well as the Government of Germany for its noble effort and rapid response and hope other countries follow suit. In recent months, IOM Egypt has been witnessing an increasing number of refugees protesting outside our offices appealing for faster resettlement processes,” said Amr Taha, Country Coordinator for IOM Egypt.

He added: “IOM takes this opportunity to recall the principle of responsibility sharing, and provide hope and a home to destitute migrants and refugees. The West needs migrants and some migrants need the West.”

For further information please contact Amr Taha, IOM Egypt, Tel: +20 2273 65140, Email: