Rights Group: Palestinians Stranded in Egypt Must Be Allowed Back Into Gaza

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights calls on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to take 'serious action' and urge Egypt to grant Palestinians freedom of movement.

A rights group Monday highlighted the plight of thousands of Palestinians who are unable to return to Gaza since being caught in the unrest that has swept much of the Arab world.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to take "serious action" and urged Egypt to grant Palestinians freedom of movement to and from the Gaza Strip, either via the Rafah crossing or via Cairo airport.

Egyptian army armored personnel carrier patroling the Egyptian side of the border with the Gaza strip, near the Rafah border crossing in Egypt. AP

In a statement, the PCHR expressed "grave concern over the continued suffering of thousands of Gazans who have been stranded in various countries abroad for more than one month due to emergency measures that prevent their entry onto Egyptian territory through Cairo Airport."

Palestinians have been denied entry into Egypt since the outbreak of the uprising there. Meanwhile the Rafah crossing, Gaza's only access to and from the Arab world, was closed in both directions for several weeks.

Among the thousands of Palestinians stranded abroad are "patients who underwent surgery or received treatment abroad, as well as employees and workers who are in danger of losing their jobs," the statement said.