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Kemet Boutros-Ghali Foundation Discusses Repercussions of COVID-19 on Refugees‎

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Kemet Boutros-Ghali Foundation Discusses Repercussions of COVID-19 on Refugees‎
written by
Mariam Nowar

(Image credit: Kemet Boutros Ghali Foundation)

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left many around the world staying at home in fear of contracting the illness. But what about those who have no home?

On the 28th of April, the Kemet Boutros Ghali Foundation for Peace and Knowledge (KBG) hosted its third virtual conversation on the impact of COVID-19, and they invited us to join as they discussed the repercussions of the disease on refugees, asylum seekers, and people who are on the move.

Executive President of KBG, Ambassador Dr Moushira Khattab was the moderator of the conversation, and she was joined by the President of KBG Foundation, Mamdouh Abbass. A group of influential leaders updated us on their organisation’s activities, including Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry; Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, UNHCR, Raouf Mazou; Former Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Amr Moussa; Commissioner General UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini; and Ambassador of China to Egypt, Liao Liqiang.


(Via Kemet Boutros Ghali Foundation)

“Displacement has reached unprecedented levels in the recent years because of the wars, violence, and political instability that currently affect many regions in the world,” said World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General’s special envoy on COVID-19 Eastern Mediterranean Region, Maha El Rabat. “The UNHCR estimated that in 2018, more than 70.8 million people were forcibly displaced. Slightly more than half are internally displaced, reaching 41.3 million people, and 25.9 million are refugees.”

The Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Abul Gheit stated that he had filed an appeal to terminate military conflict in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Abul Gheit said that the Palestinian authority came forward with its own appeal that claims that Israeli occupation has tendencies to discriminate against them, so he called the international community to intervene to prevent fatalities by writing to several officials, including members of the United Nations Security Council.


(Via Kemet Boutros Ghali Foundation)

“There are an estimated 5 million refugees and asylum seekers who currently reside in Egypt,” said MFA Shoukry. “The Egyptian government ensured that the arrival of COVID-19 has had no direct impact on the life of migrants and people on the move residing on its territory. Egypt has not taken any steps towards repatriating migrants, but continues to ensure their inclusion in the health care system.”

Ambassador Liqiang stressed that COVID-19 is a common enemy of society, and that China will try its best to return the favour after Egypt has extended tremendous support. Apart from making the latest diagnosis and treatment plans available online, China has offered Egypt medical masks and protective gear.

The absence of a vaccine or a cure has definitely put national priorities to the test, but seeking a safe future for those who are displaced must come first. We hope that each organisation that took part in this enlightening exchange of thoughts can move forward towards ensuring that discrimination and stigmatisation can cease to exist. A good place to start is raising awareness – which they most definitely achieved during this conversation.