Today’s shipwreck off the coast of Alexandria that drowned at least 12
people, many believed to be refugees from Syria, highlights the crushing
life-and-death decisions facing many who fled to Egypt to escape
Syria’s armed conflict, Amnesty International said.
organization is due to launch a briefing next week on the plight of
refugees from Syria in Egypt, and currently has a delegation on the
ground researching the situation.
“Our research has shown how
the backdrop to today’s terrible boat accident is a much wider tragedy.
Refugees from Syria are compelled to risk life and limb yet again in
Egypt after facing arbitrary arrests, detentions and increased
hostility,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Amnesty International's Head of
Refugee and Migrants' Rights.
“Refugees from Syria have fled the
depths of despair to seek safety in Egypt. But instead of providing
shelter and hope for a new life, the Egyptian authorities’ actions are
compelling many refugees from Syria into life-threatening situations,
including entrusting their lives to smugglers in order to make the
perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.”
media reports, at least 100 people were rescued from today’s shipwreck
and taken to a naval base and then to a police station in Alexandria. It
is unknown what will happen to them next.
A second boat carrying migrants from Tunisia to Italy also reportedly sank off the coast of the island of Lampedusa today.