Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Author's Department

Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Sudanese Refugee Protest in Cairo: Community Dynamics and Broader Implications

Publication Date



The historical relationship between Sudan and Egypt harkens back to Pharonic and Nubian civilizations. As a consequence of both Turkish and British occupation, Sudan and Egypt have a shared experience of colonial rule and therefore share commonalities. During the period of occupation, many Sudanese and Egyptians settled in each others countries and many became citizens of both countries or intermarried. The relationship was, for many decades, peaceful and harmonious. However, the tranquility was disrupted in the 1980s when, as a consequence of the seizure of power by Pro-Islamists in Sudan, the relationship between the countries became one of tension. Relations deteriorated further after the Sudanese Government was accused of the assassination attempt on the Egyptian President Mubarak in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in June 1995. Before that date, very few Sudanese were coming to Egypt formally seeking refuge, as Sudanese were treated on an equal footing as Egyptians. However, after the assassination attempt Sudanese lost their special status as Palestinians had before them, and the Egyptian authorities issued a decree to deprive Sudanese of their privileges. Henceforth-newcomers had to acquire residence, which were not required before that decision.

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