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Chadian human rights activist disappeared in Egypt

Djasnan Alfred Camus was taken away by unidentified men following a demonstration held by African refugees
Djasnan Alfred Camus was taken away by unidentified men and his whereabouts remain unknown (Social Media)

A Chadian refugee and rights activist has disappeared in Egypt after unidentified individuals were seen taken him away against his will.

The disappearance of Djasnan Alfred Camus was first revealed on Wednesday by the Refugees Platform in Egypt, a human rights organisation, has called it a state-sanctioned “kidnapping".

His whereabouts remain unknown to his family and lawyers.

Camus is a registered refugee with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Egypt.

He is also a community leader who defends the rights of refugees by managing the African Refugee Initiative in Egypt. 

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Human rights organisations have called on the UNHCR to intervene and pressure the Egyptian government to reveal his whereabouts.

The refugee platform added that they had no information on his current situation or his place of detention, calling on the UNHCR to intervene with the Egyptian government over the issue.

A video posted online and apparently filmed by Camus’ wife shows the human rights activist being led away by two plain-clothes men. 

Camus can be heard protesting to no avail, as they bundle him into a black car.

In a Facebook post, the Refugees Platform in Egypt speculated that a recent protest held by African refugees outside the offices of the UNHCR may have aroused the anger of authorities. 

'Camus' family and friends fear for his life and health and the refugee platform joins them in their fear'

- Refugees Platform in Egypt

“Until now his [Camus’] family or lawyers have not been able to determine who arrested him, the reasons for his arrest, or where he was detained, while refugee communities of African nationalities have expressed their displeasure and concern over the news of Camus’ kidnapping,” the Refugees Platform in Egypt said. 

On 14 May dozens of refugees and asylum seekers stood outside the offices of the UNHCR in District Seven in the City of Six October, just outside Cairo, holding placards that read: “We are dying here”; and: “We have no rights.”

The protest, according to the organisers, did not obstruct passing traffic or trespass on private property and was a peaceful exchange with staff at the UNHCR. 

According to activists, Camus had applied for a permit to demonstrate. However, this was denied by authorities. 

Camus did not participate in last Sunday’s protest, but activists suspect that authorities presumed he was behind the protest. 

“Camus' family and friends fear for his life and health and the refugee platform joins them in their fear and takes responsibility for the safety, health, life, and freedom of Camus,” added the Refugees Platform in Egypt.

According to the activists, staff at the UNHCR assured the protestors that nothing would happen to any of them. They said that refugees asking for the improvement of their conditions was a normal activity. 

“The Refugees Platform in Egypt demands the swift release and return to his family and friends to fulfill international commitments to protect refugees and provide security and the care needed for them,” said the human rights group.

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