The following statement is from the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA).
Sudan: Asylum-Seekers Are Entitled to Protection, Not Detention
Fear of Torture and Deportation
HRLHA Appeal and Urgent Action
Feb 18, 2012
His Excellency Lieutenant General Omar Hasan Al-Bashir
President of the Republic Sudan,
PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: (00 249) 11 771651, (00 249) 11 787676, (00 249) 11 783223
Dear Honorable President,
First of all, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) would like to express its appreciation to the people of the Republic of Sudan and to its government for their hospitality and kindness over so many years towards thousands of refugees, who have fled their homes to escape government persecutions in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other neighboring countries at different times and now living in Sudan.
However, what has been happening to refugee seekers in Sudan over the past two months is contrary to the good tradition of the Government of the Republic of Sudan towards the asylum seekers for many decades. According to information obtained by HRLHA through its informants in Khartoum, Sudan, the refugee seekers in the country, most of who are from Ethiopia, have been subjected to different kinds of harassment, intimidation and detention.
According the report HRLHA received from its informants, a number of Oromo nationals from Ethiopia have been (and are being) indiscriminately hunted and arbitrary arrested in the capital, Khartoum, in Ma’imura detention center on Feb 15, 2012 in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 14 (1) “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution,” which guarantee the asylum seekers to enjoy freedom and protection in the country they are looking for asylum.
The HRLHA informants managed to get the following fifteen among many asylum seekers believed arrested by the Sudan Security forces at different places and time from their temporary shelter on February 15, 2012.
Kadir Martu, an Oromo artist, who was severely beaten and tortured in Ethiopia prison for his songs in which he criticized the TPLF/EPRDF Government for its discrimination against Oromo, Jaba Morkata, Amin Ahmed, Amin Haji, Muzayan Sidiqo, Seyifu Hussen, Sa’ada Shube (female), Rukiya (female), Rabiya Aman (female), Muhamed Galato, Muhamed Hassen, Seifadin Hassen, Shukriya Hussen (female), Hussen Majid and Abdusalam Kassa Erbu.
The HRLHA is highly suspicious that there might be a plan to deport those refugees to Ethiopia. In case those Ethiopian refugees would be deported, the Ethiopian Government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens, who were involuntarily returned to the country. The government of Ethiopia routinely imprisons such persons.
There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian prisons and other secret places of detention. Under Article 33 (1) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (189 U.N.T.S. 150), to which Sudan is a party, “[n]o contracting state shall expel or forcibly return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his … political opinion.” This obligation, which is also a principle of customary international law, applies to both asylum seekers and refugees, as affirmed by UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the United Nations General Assembly by deporting the detailed asylum seekers and others, the Sudanese government will be breaching its obligations under international treaties as well as customary law.
1. Under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185), to which Sudan acceded in 2002, Sudan has an obligation not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture provides:
No state party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations, including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights. We strongly urge the Government of Sudan to respect the international treaties and obligations it has signed.
Please send appeals to the Republic of Sudan Government officials as swiftly as possible, in English, Arabic, or your own language, using the above contact addresses:
Urging the Republic of Sudan Government set free the detainees without any pre condition,
Your Concerns at the apprehension and fear of Torture if they return to their home country,
Urging the authorities of Republic of Sudan to ensure that these asylum seekers and refugees are protected depending on the 1951 refugee convention.
This Appeal and Urgent Action is copied to:
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 917 9022
(particularly for urgent matters) E-mail: email@example.com
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt
+41 22 739 8111 (automatic switchboard)
International Committee of the Red Cross
19 Avenue de la paix CH 1202 Geneva
Tel: +41 22 734 60 01
Fax: +41 22 733 20 57
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
48 Kairaba Avenue
Banjul, The Gambia.
Tel: (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 – 23
Fax: (220) 4390 764
U.S. Department of State
Tom Fcansky – Foreign Affairs Officer
Washington, D.C. 20037
Amnesty International – London
Fax number: +44-20-79561157
Human Rights Watch – New York
Source: Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)