The head of Egypt’s official body tasked with combating illegal migration has urged Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to launch an media awareness campaign to highlight the issue.
Naela Gabr, head of the National Coordinating Committee on Preventing and Combating Illegal Migration (NCCPIM), made the request on Friday following the approval of a law on Wednesday aimed at confronting illegal migration.
Naela said awareness campaigns will clarify the risks smugglers and illegal migrants face during their attempts to leave Egypt, which usually fail due to the efforts of security forces.
The Egyptian cabinet approved an illegal migration law targeting people-smugglers on Wednesday. The law allows for long prison sentences – including life sentences – along with heavy fines ranging from EGP 50,000 to EGP 200,000.
The penalties are applied to individuals attempting to coordinate with organised groups that smuggle illegal immigrants, particularly those that conduct terrorist attacks or violence. They make special provision for cases resulting in death and those involving women and children, as well as the use of fake identity papers and passports.
Gaber said the NCCPIM will coordinate with the foreign ministry to create awareness of the new law in Egypt and abroad, issuing messages in both Arabic and English.
She also confirmed that the committee will continue its campaign entitled”Egypt Your Future” to make Egyptian youngsters in various governorates aware about the consequences of illegal migration and its hardships, and to offer them alternatives.
In April, the Egyptian Union for Human Rights drafted a law to counter illegal immigration, presenting it to cabinet.
The 17-article law defines illegal immigration as “any action of an individual or group that leads to exiting or attempting to exit the country to any other place regionally, internationally or continentally, without authorisation or license from respective authorities.”
Many illegal migrants tend to risk their lives in the hopes of finding decent job opportunities abroad, often the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. Hundreds of Egyptian nationals have been repatriated from Italy with the help of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.