Dozens of Sudanese activists living in Egypt as refugees, many of whom fled fundamentalist Islamic militias and were close to approval for resettlement in the United States, now face legal limbo after the Supreme Court partially reinstated President Donald Trump’s travel ban on six Muslim nations, including Sudan.
Many said they are not safe in Egypt because Sudanese agents operating in the country under tacit Egyptian approval regularly threaten them and their families, sometimes targeting them with violence.
Tayeb Ibrahim, who has worked to expose Sudanese government abuses in areas it controls in the country’s volatile South Kordofan province, was partially blinded after being attacked with acid by Sudanese government agents, and narrowly escaped being brought back to Sudan after being kidnapped in Egypt.
“I’m totally depressed. I was approved over a year ago for resettlement, just passed my medical exam last week and was hoping to see family living in Iowa. But instead I’ll be stuck here worried about my physical safety,” said the 40-year-old Ibrahim, who like many Sudanese refugees has no travel documents and thus cannot leave Egypt.
Sudanese living in Egypt regularly complain of discrimination and harassment, while pro-democracy rights activists and opponents of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s regime say they face abuses by both Sudanese and Egyptian security forces.
Rights groups have in the past documented cases where pro-democracy activists have been targeted by Sudanese secret police with violence, including rape. Egypt has denied any involvement in such targeted abuse.
There are officially some 36,000 Sudanese with refugee status in Egypt, most former residents of Sudan’s Darfur region who fled government-sponsored Islamic and tribal Janjaweed militias in a separatist conflict that was front-page news a decade ago but has now been eclipsed by other regional crises in Syria and Iraq.
“It’s like having our own little Islamic State group in…