President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said that Egypt contributes significantly to the responsibility of hosting refugees, in a speech at the United Nations (UN) Refugees and Migrants plenary meeting in New York.
The meeting taking place on Monday is part of the agenda for the 71st general debate of the UN general assembly, during which a new declaration for migrants rights was adopted.
Al-Sisi said Egypt hosts about 5 million refugees but not all of them are registered. He highlighted the fact that Egypt does not allow refugee camps, but rather integrates refugees within Egyptian society and enables them to have a humane standard of living.
He reviewed the national efforts undertaken to counter illegal migration, noting that it is a top priority for Egypt’s government. “A new bill is being drafted on this issue,” he stated, saying that there have been increased efforts by security forces to secure the country’s borders.
Navy forces succeeded in preventing 440 individuals from illegally immigrating this week, armed forces spokesperson Ahmed Samir said on Wednesday. Hundreds of others have been stopped during the course of this year.
Al-Sisi then made a controversial claim that Egyptians enjoy quality education and suitable incomes, referring to the government’s subsidy network. The country, however, has been grappling with a hike in the US dollar exchange rate, affecting all sectors.
On 1 September, dozens of families protested against the shortage of subsidised baby formula.
According to Al-Sisi, there have also been awareness efforts for young people on the risks of illegal migration.
“We agree there are risks associated with this. There is no way to end this except by uprooting its causes; and this will be by reaching political agreements, not by closing borders,” he said.