In April 2014, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) accepted a complaint submitted against the Egyptian government in the case of the slaughter of Sudanese refugees in Mustafa Mahmoud Square in the Mohandessin Neighborhood of Giza in December 2005.

The complaint was submitted by an Egyptian and Ugandan lawyer in 2007, two years after the September 2005 incident, when about 3,000 Sudanese refugees staged a sit-in near the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) building in Mustafa Mahmoud Square. The three-month-long sit-in was dispersed by force by the Egyptian security forces, which resulted in the death of about 27 refugees, according to the Ministry of Interior. The rest were deported to Sudan.

According to the official statistics of the UNHCR in Egypt, the number of registered Sudanese refugees in Egypt in 2005 amounted to 20,374.

“Refugees from South Sudan suffered from much violence, injustice and oppression in their country as well as oppression, racism and discrimination in Egypt,” says a former UNHCR employee in Egypt, who worked there from 1999-2004 and asked to remain anonymous. “The situation of Sudanese in Egypt had been fair until the attempted assassination of Hosni Mubarak in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, in 1996. Since the British occupation of Sudan ended in 1956, Egypt had its doors open to Sudanese, who were allowed to enter the country without a visa under the Nile Valley Agreement. However, after the incident, the Egyptian government imposed strict rules on the entry of Sudanese.

After the revocation of the Nile Valley Agreement, the government refused to provide financial aid or educational and social services to Sudanese refugees in Egypt due to the unstable local economic situation,” she continued. “Sudanese [suffered racial discrimination] by locals on the streets and suffered from the scarcity of jobs and UNHCR aid. Landlords demanded high rents from the Sudanese, which aggravated their difficult living circumstances, leading to the sit-in and slaughter incident in the ‘refugee graveyard’ square in 2005,” she says.