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UNHCR, rights groups urge Egypt not to deport Sudan refugees

[JURIST] The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) [official website] on Wednesday appealed to Egyptian authorities in an attempt to prevent the deportation of 654 Sudanese refugees whom Cairo authorities say are in the country illegally. Also Wednesday, US-based rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to stop the deportations [JURIST report], which were announced earlier this week following a violent dispute [UNHCR press release] on December 30 between Egyptian police and approximately 2,5000 Sudanese protesters. An estimated 27 Sudanese were killed [BBC report] during the violence. Both HRW and UNHCR have sent letters [HRW text] urging Egypt not to deport the refugees, with the concern that some of the refugees may face persecution in Sudan if they are forced to return. Reuters has more. AKI has local coverage.

1:55 PM ET - Egypt has agreed to delay the deportations, initially scheduled to begin Thursday, for three days in order to allow the UNHCR access to the refugees. AFP has more.

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