UNHCR concerned by expulsions from Sudan
GENEVA – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has learned with great concern of recent collective expulsions from Sudan of Eritreans to Eritrea. At least 313 Eritreans were arrested on 6 May in the northern Sudanese town of Dongola. They were tried and convicted of “illegal entry” into Sudan under national immigration laws and were forcibly returned to Eritrea on 22 May. The Office has also learned of a previous collective expulsion of 129 Eritreans back to their country of origin a few days before the 22 May incident.
The latest expulsion included six Eritreans who were registered refugees. Others had not applied for asylum but it remains unclear if they had been given the opportunity to do so. Individuals have the right to apply for asylum at any time and to be offered access to a fair and efficient asylum procedure.
The forcible return of refugees, asylum-seekers, or others who may be in need of international protection to their country of origin may amount to refoulement as prohibited by Sudanese domestic law, as well as the 1951 Refugee Convention, the 1969 OAU Convention, international human rights law, and customary international law.
UNHCR reminds Sudan of its obligations under international and Sudanese law and urges the Sudanese government to refrain from forcible returns of Eritreans back to their country of origin.