ABSTRACT

Cairo, Egypt has one of the world’s largest populations of urban refugees, most originating from Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. In 2005, the city was the location of arguably the most famous mass protest by refugees since the 1951 Convention – a three-month sit-in by several thousand Sudanese asylum seekers and refugees in front of the offices of the United Nations refugee agency. Based on research conducted between 2005 and 2012, this chapter examines the basic needs of refugees in Cairo through the words of the protest’s participants. These problems are considered in relation to developments relevant to asylum in Cairo in the years since, and recent studies of refuge in the city. The chapter thus contributes an overview of the state of asylum in Cairo, a refugee-centred assessment of it, and a consideration of how current dynamics may affect Cairo-based refugees’ needs in the years to come.