New York, US (PANA) - The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday
condemned Sudan's deportation of over 300 Eritrean refugees and asylum-seekers after weeks of detention and in spite of a previous agreement with the UN.
Adrian Edwards, UNHCR spokesperson, said in a statement that the agency was concerned that the rights of refugees were not being respected, even though the Sudanese authorities had assured otherwise.
Edwards said that Sudan’s actions breached the agreement between his agency and the government.
"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,” he said.
He also disclosed that, "upon arrival, the refugees were convicted on charges of illegal entry and movement in Sudan and were subsequently detained for several weeks in Dongola in the country’s north, before being deported on Monday."
The spokesperson noted that, "deportations like these violate the 1951 UN Refugee
Convention as well as the 1974 Sudanese Asylum Act."
According to UNHCR, Sudan had recently forced asylum-seekers on various occasions to return to Eritrea, where they risk persecution.
-0- PANA AA/BOS 18Oct2011