IOM: Improved protection for irregular migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa in Southern Egypt

Project completed

Due to recent measures to secure the Egypt-Sudan border, an increased number of migrants has been apprehended and transferred to ill-equipped prisons/ police stations where they spend protracted periods in extremely vulnerable conditions. Smuggling and trafficking network have expanded over the last year. The proposed project will provide assistance to stranded migrants and Egyptian communities in needs, as well as capacity building efforts for government and NGOs to provide migrant-friendly healthcare services.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Forced displacement (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)
Migration generally (development aspects and partnerships)
Primary health care
15.12.2012 - 14.04.2015
CHF 598'594

  • Increasing numbers of migrations (4000-5000 monthly) from Sub-Sahara Africa are caught at Egypt’s southern borders due to increased control. Their situation is extremely vulnerable; being transferred to ill equipped detention facilities they are subject to forced labour, sexual exploitation and torture, and usually denied medical care.
  • Both migrants and Egyptian communities at the southern border share the problem of lacking access to basic and legal services as well as difficulties in pursuing livelihoods. Involvement in smuggling/trafficking is often the only alternative for border community members.
  • The Government of Egypt acknowledged trafficking as multifaceted problem and requested UN support in implementing anti-trafficking aspects of the National Action Plan.
  • Recognizing the need to ensure access to health for migrants, a Migration Health Committee (MHC) has been established with IOM, UNHCR and the Ministry of Health (MOH) regarding the provision of migrant friendly services.
  • Objectives

    To contribute to a sphere of protection for vulnerable migrants at Egypt’s southern border through the enforcement of international humanitarian law, relevant national legislation and access to basic services.

    Target groups

    Direct beneficiaries include:

    1. Vulnerable migrants detained in detention centres, prisons and police stations in the Governorates of Aswan, Red Sea and Western Desert.
    2. Vulnerable community members at risk of getting involved in smuggling and trafficking.
    3. Staff of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Interior as well as civil society organisations who will benefit from capacity building and awareness raising.
    Indirect target groups include:
    1. Border communities in general benefitting from improved access to services and alternative livelihoods activities.

    Medium-term outcomes
    1. To improve protection of vulnerable migrants at Egypt’s southern borders.
    2. To strengthen governmental and non-governmental capacities to respond to migrant health and life saving needs upon arrest and in detention facilities.
    3. To develop livelihood opportunities at the community level and raise awareness on migrant exploitation and abuses in order to encourage community resistance to smuggling and trafficking.


    Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
    Credit area Humanitarian aid
    Project partners Contract partner
    Other International Organization
    • International Organisation for Migration

    Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   598'594 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   517'869
    Project phases

    Phase 1 15.12.2012 - 14.04.2015   (Completed)