UNHCR concerned over forced returns of refugee and asylum-seekers from Sudan

Briefing Notes, 4 July 2014

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 4 July 2014, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR is deeply concerned over recent forced returns, or refoulement, of Eritrean and other asylum seekers and refugees from Sudan. These include an incident on Monday, 30 June in Eastern Sudan where 74 Eritreans were sent back to Eritrea through Laffa border crossing point, according to information received from immigration authorities.

The asylum-seekers had been convicted on charges of illegal entry into Sudan under national immigration laws. They were not given access to asylum procedures in order to have their claims reviewed by the competent authorities.

Such deportations of asylum-seekers amount to refoulement and constitute a serious violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention as well as the 2014 Sudanese Asylum Act.

The UN Refugee Agency reminds the Government of Sudan of its obligations under international and Sudanese law and urges the Sudanese authorities to provide all asylum-seekers immediate access to asylum procedures and protection from refoulement.

There are over 160,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in Sudan mainly from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and South Sudan.

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