Sudan Deporting Eritreans at Risk of Government Abuse, HRW Says

Sudanese authorities deported 30 Eritreans, including at least six refugees, risking their detention and abuse by Eritea’s government, Human Rights Watch said.

Authorities in eastern Sudan handed them over to Eritrean security forces on May 1, the New York-based rights group said today in a statement, citing two advocates in phone contact with the deportees. HRW said it had “credible information” that six members of the group were registered refugees.

“Sudan is forcibly returning Eritreans to serious risk of detention and abuse at the hands of a brutal government,” said Gerry Simpson, HRW’s senior refugee researcher. “Sudan should immediately end these deportations and protect Eritreans.”

The 30 were arrested by Sudanese security forces in early February near Sudan’s border with Libya, HRW cited the advocates as saying. They were detained for three months without charge or access to the United Nations Refugee Agency, the advocates said. Other detained Eritreans recently convicted by Sudan of immigration violations also risk deportation, according to HRW.

Sudanese Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said he wasn’t aware of the case, when contacted for comment. Sudan only deports people who’ve committed crimes in the country, he said by phone from Southern Kordofan.

Eritrea requires all citizens under 50 years of age to do military service, with anyone of draft age leaving the country without permission risking five years in prison, forced labor and torture, HRW said. International law prohibits deporting anyone to a place where they risk ill-treatment, it said.