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UNHCR moving Oromo refugees to a safer area within Cairo

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Written by Mohammed A

(OPride) – UNHCR is planning to temporarily relocate Oromo refugees to a safer neighborhood within Cairo from their current residences, activists said. Oromo refugees in Egypt have been camping outside the UNHCR regional office for over two weeks demanding physical protection amid anti-Ethiopia backlash over the Nile dam stalemate.

 

“We need home…we need safety…we will remain on these streets until our voices are heard and our rights are respected,” a few dozen refugees sitting on streets outside the UNHCR office chanted on sunday marking the start of third week of their protests.

Amid deteriorating camp conditions and health of the protesters, the UNHCR has secured about 70 housing units in a safer neighborhood, the activists said in an email message last night. Last week, Al Jazeera reported, the protesters were “sleeping on the grass outside…near leaking sewage from a surrounding apartment complex.”

 

Cairo-based blogger Ivanova Novinha corroborated the refugees account on Twitter.

Sporadic attack from angry Egyptian youth, denial of medical services, and the eviction of some of the refugees from residences triggered the protests early in June. A UNHCR official in Cairo expressed concerns and called on Egyptian public opinion to distinguish refugees from government actions, in a statement last week. The protesters say they are refugees who are forced to flee their country due political and ethnic persecution.

Oromo are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, over 40 million by some estimates. However, despite their numerical majority, the Oromo remain highly marginalized and constitute the majority of refugees from Ethiopia.

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