Operation: Opération: Egypt



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Key Figures

2019 planning figures
150,000 primary health consultations will be supported
31,000 households will receive multi-purpose cash grants
50,000 students in primary and secondary schools will be provided with education grants
4,500 UASC will be provided with child protection support and services
1,200 refugees and asylum-seekers will be provided with legal support
2017 year-end results
52,500 individuals (13,700 families) were supported with monthly multipurpose cash grants
39,000 students received education grants
14,800 individuals were referred to secondary or tertiary medical care
2,780 unaccompanied separated children were registered, documented and supported
87 community groups were empowered to deliver community-based protection interventions

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2017 289,231
2016 263,426
2015 250,697


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2017 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[83.25535602,85.170372352,82.27679034,79.08958703,74.46865337,104.15671602],"expenditure":[51.97807067,46.44128458,45.61564518,42.6004643,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[83.18539387,85.120372352,82.27679034,79.08958703,74.46865337,104.15671602],"p2":[0.06996215,0.05,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[51.92002903,46.40966352,45.61564518,42.6004643,null,null],"p2":[0.05804164,0.03162106,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Working environment

Egypt is a destination and transit country for refugees and asylum-seekers from more than 60 countries.
Egypt grants access to public education to refugees and asylum-seekers of certain nationalities, and to national health care services for Syrians. At the end of 2016, access to national health care services was extended to all nationalities. The lack of some specialized health services and the limited capacity of public schools to absorb refugee children remained of concern.

The general protection environment remained stable, though challenges remained: residence permits are of short duration and there are lengthy procedures to obtain and renew them; funding available for Syrian refugees were greater than that for refugees of other nationalities; and there was an increase in the number of people detained for arriving or departing Egypt irregularly.

Economic policies increased the cost of living and impacted refugee access to livelihood opportunities.

Population trends

  • Some 193,000 refugees and asylum-seekers were registered, including 116,000 Syrians. The remaining 77,000 refugees and asylum-seekers are from 65 other nationalities, mostly Eritrean, Ethiopian, Iraqi, Somali, Sudanese and South Sudanese.
  • UNHCR newly registered 45,500 people of concern (17,400 Syrians and 28,100 other nationalities). This represents a 70 per cent increase compared to 2015. 

Achievements and impact

  • Access to public health services was extended to refugees and asylum-seekers of all nationalities at the end of 2016.
  • UNHCR continued its efforts to reduce the waiting period for refugee status determination.

Unmet needs

  • Cash assistance to help refugees meet their basic needs was only provided to 42 per cent of vulnerable Syrian refugees and 15 per cent of vulnerable African and Iraqi refugees.
  • The waiting period for refugee status determination was significantly decreased in the last two years, but remained at 20 months due to an increased number of new registrations and limited staffing.
  • Education grants only reached 45 per cent of school-aged children (5 to 17 years) and covered only 30 per cent of private school fees for children who did not have access to public schools.

Egypt is a signatory to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol, and to the 1969 OAU Convention. UNHCR’s operation in Egypt is one of its largest and most established urban refugee programmes. The organization carries out functional responsibilities for all aspects of refugee protection, including registration, documentation and refugee status determination (RSD), in accordance with the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government, concluded in 1954.

Egypt continues to host refugees and asylum-seekers from African countries as well as from Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), and several other countries. Refugees and asylum-seekers live in urban centres alongside local communities, and are mainly settled in areas within Greater Cairo and the cities of Alexandria and Damietta.

Egypt also continues to be affected by increased mixed movements. Since January 2015, more than 2,300 individuals have been arrested for attempting to depart or enter Egypt in an irregular manner, including by sea. 

UNHCR works closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on matters of policy and guidance, as well as with the Ministry of the Interior and line ministries, as appropriate. The Government has provided access for Syrian children to public schools, as well as access to primary health care services for Syrians equivalent to that of nationals. UNHCR supports respective line ministries, including the Ministries of Health and Education, and will continue to do so in 2016.
In 2016, UNHCR will also work towards improving the quality of registration, conducting effective RSD, and improving identification of people with specific needs and vulnerabilities for targeted assistance and resettlement, including by enhancing vulnerability assessments and strengthening data collection and analysis.
The Office will maintain its focus on: promoting safe access to asylum; prevention of refoulement; assisting people of concern in detention and advocating for alternatives to detention; improving refugee access to livelihoods and self-reliance opportunities; and pursuing durable solutions, including through resettlement.
The Office will continue its work with partners to develop solutions-oriented and sustainable programmes by: enhancing community participation and communication with persons of concern; supporting effective access to public services (in particular health and education); and further coordination with relevant national and international partners.