UNHCR dismay at new deportation of Eritreans by Sudan

Briefing Notes, 18 October 2011

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 18 October 2011, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR condemns the deportation yesterday (Monday) of over 300 Eritrean asylum-seekers and refugees by Sudan.

The asylum-seekers and refugees were convicted on charges of illegal entry and movement within Sudan, under national immigration laws. The group had been detained for the several weeks in Dongola, in Sudan's Northern State bordering Egypt.

The deportation took place despite an agreement between UNHCR and the Sudanese Commissioner for Refugees that the Eritreans would be transferred to Khartoum for joint screening the aim being to identify people in the group who already had refugee status and to allow others the opportunity to lodge asylum claims.

Such deportations of refugees and asylum-seekers amount to refoulement (forced return) and violate the 1951 UN Refugee Convention as well as the 1974 Sudanese Asylum Act.

UNHCR is concerned that, despite assurances from the authorities, the rights of refugees are not being respected. Sudan has recently repeatedly forced back Eritrean asylum-seekers and refugees to Eritrea, where they risk persecution.

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International Women's Day 2013

Gender equality remains a distant goal for many women and girls around the world, particularly those who are forcibly displaced or stateless. Multiple forms of discrimination hamper their enjoyment of basic rights: sexual and gender-based violence persists in brutal forms, girls and women struggle to access education and livelihoods opportunities, and women's voices are often powerless to influence decisions that affect their lives. Displaced women often end up alone, or as single parents, battling to make ends meet. Girls who become separated or lose their families during conflict are especially vulnerable to abuse.

On International Women's Day, UNHCR reaffirms its commitment to fight for women's empowerment and gender equality. In all regions of the world we are working to support refugee women's participation and leadership in camp committees and community structures, so they can assume greater control over their lives. We have also intensified our efforts to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence, with a focus on emergencies, including by improving access to justice for survivors. Significantly, we are increasingly working with men and boys, in addition to women and girls, to bring an end to dangerous cycles of violence and promote gender equality.

These photographs pay tribute to forcibly displaced women and girls around the world. They include images of women and girls from some of today's major displacement crises, including Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Sudan.

International Women's Day 2013

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Grateful for the life-saving assistance they receive from the UN refugee agency and its humanitarian partners, the refugees are an example of the extraordinary resilience humans are capable of. The following photographs, taken by UNHCR staff, show the conditions in which they live during a daily battle to maintain their dignity and hope.

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