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‘EU immigration measures futile’: Sudanese civil rights activists

June 30 - 2016 SUDAN
Zodiacs from the Irish Navy ship Le Eithne come to the rescue of a boat in the Mediterranean sea dangerously overloaded with migrants desperate to reach Europe from Africa (Irish Defence Forces)
Zodiacs from the Irish Navy ship Le Eithne come to the rescue of a boat in the Mediterranean sea dangerously overloaded with migrants desperate to reach Europe from Africa (Irish Defence Forces)

The EU policy in the fight against illegal immigration and human trafficking by funding African governments to strengthen security and police organs is futile, according to Sudanese civil rights activist Hafez Ismail.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Ismail called on the European Union to address the root causes of the crisis in the absence of political stability or governance, the failure to manage the economy, the ongoing wars, poverty, lack of development, and human rights abuses in African countries.

He attributed the EU’s temporary solutions to the issue of immigration to the growing nationalistic trend, protection of national security, and its use as an electoral bargaining chip.

Ismail said he “could not rule out the involvement of Sudanese officials, security, and police agencies in human smuggling operations,” highlighting the increasing activity of human smuggling networks in East Sudan.

He said that the biggest challenge is the judicial institutions in Sudan, which lack implementation of international standards of justice, respect for human rights, and training.

He criticised European countries for waiving the criteria governing its relationship with African regimes to stop of illegal immigration.

Ismail warned of the use of funding from the European Union to promote the grip of the security apparatus on the population, and to suppress peaceful activities of citizens.

He expressed surprise at the European countries’ financing of the construction of detention centre and isolation of the refugee camps.

The activist called on the EU member countries to fight illegal immigration by seeking to stop the wars, promoting political and economic stability, communication with governments and peoples, and democratic transformation in the African countries.

"...the conclusion of such an agreement ...  reveals the pragmatism with which the European governments prefer their own interest to defending matters relating to fundamental freedoms and human rights...''

At local level, Hassan called for integration of refugees who have been in Sudan for many years, giving them Sudanese nationality and production projects so as to contribute to stability.

Dr El Baqer El Afif, head of El Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment, said that the agreement reached between the EU and the Sudanese government on the refugees reveals the European governments’ concern about the torrent of immigration flowing to many European countries across the Mediterranean, which is lead to rising right-wing sentiments in Europe.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, he said that ”the conclusion of such an agreement between the EU and the Sudanese regime led by Omar Al Bashir who is wanted by the ICC reveals the pragmatism with which the European governments prefer their own interest to defending matters relating to fundamental freedoms and human rights that are widely violated in many African countries and Sudan in particular.

He explained that about €100 million out of the €150 million granted to the Sudanese government under the agreement, go to the Sudanese government in order to promote the principle of transparency and good governance.

El Afif said that “this part of the agreement forgets that the rulers in countries such as Sudan do not know anything about the principles of leadership and good governance. It forgets that President Al Bashir has acknowledged that his regime has exercised murder on a large scale against his own people without any justified grounds for doing so.”

He said that under the agreement, the Sudanese government returned a group of Eritrean refugees who sought refuge in Sudan from the Government of Isaias Afwerki, to Eritrea, which represents a clear violation of international norms and conventions.

 “Sudan is not transit state for refugees only, but a source, although most do not go to Europe but migrate to the Gulf to escape from the situation in Sudan; the violations and lack of freedom suffered by Sudanese citizens,” he concluded.

 


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