In the last three decades, Egypt has become host to refugees fleeing conflicts and persecution in Africa, Asia and Middle East. Many refugees have made Egypt their home and various refugee communities live amongst Egyptian, contributing to the Egyptian society. Though Sudanese are considered to be the largest refugee population, there are also large numbers of Somalis, Eritreans, Ethiopians, North Africans, and even more from Central and West Africa as also Iraqis. Refugees from the Middle and Far East also seek asylum in Egypt. In addition, there are an estimated 70,000 Palestinians. These refugees are often falsely identified as economic migrants, rather than a vulnerable population who fled their homelands due to political unrests and violence.
The Cairo Refugee Film Festival is an attempt to integrate refugees in their new host country:
Since the vast majority of refugees will never be resettled, integration in Egypt is of great concern and the need of the hour. This is possible only when when the misconceptions between the host communities and the refugee communities are cleared and an appreciation and understanding of the others’ circumstances is fostered.
Against this backdrop and with a view to bring the refugee and the egyptian communities together, the idea of a film festival took birth.
Taking place from June 16 to June 20 at the Rawabet theatre in downtown Cairo, the festival being held in commemoration of the World Refugee Day, seeks to:
chronicle the lives, struggles, and achievements of refugee populations around the world from the 1930s to the present day. We aspire to break the Egyptian myth that the refugee movement is an Afro-centric problem and that refugees are always African. Through the medium of film, we aim to sensitize the Egyptian community on refugees’ stories, obstacles and resilience.