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Iraqi refugees in Egypt denounce lack of protection, services

Iraqi refugees in Egypt face challenges relating to security and access to basic services, with migrant funding often earmarked for other groups.

Egyptian police arrested 28-year-old Karim Ahmed — who asked that his real name not be used due to security concerns — earlier this year while he was working in a restaurant in 6th of October City, a Cairo suburb. Ahmed, an Iraqi refugee who came to Egypt with his father in 2016, was held in an overcrowded cell where he could barely stretch his legs for 15 days. “I have a valid [tourist] visa that I renew every three months, and I have the yellow [asylum seeker] UN card, but that meant nothing [to the police],” Ahmed told Al-Monitor.

The neighborhood where police took Ahmed is known for being home to a large refugee population, a fact that is evidenced by the variety of Iraqi, Syrian and Sudanese restaurants and shops that have given life to the area. It also means security forces often go on random sprees to check migrants for residency documents.

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