Sudan to cooperate with Germany, UK on migration issues
Germany and the United Kingdom have agreed with Sudan to prevent migrants from the Horn of Africa entering Europe and fight human trafficking in the country.
The German government has earmarked €12 million for projects aimed at stemming illegal immigration of Africans across Sudan to Europe.
On Wednesday, the German international aid agency signed an agreement to this effect with the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Horn of Africa Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Sudan Tribune reports.
Implementation of the plan will begin with a €2 million project in eastern Sudan’s Kassala, which is widely known as a crossing point for refugees from neighbouring Eritrea in particular.
The German agency’s coordinator for East Africa, Ralf Mathus, said in talks with the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry that concern with development in the countries of origin will certainly reduce immigration.
He stated that his country now hosts 12 million refugees, of which one million had crossed Sudan.
“Germany will not let Sudan face the burden of refugees all by itself and will continue to support projects aimed at curbing the asylum problem,” he said. “The refugee problem needs thorough examination, particularly if we consider the economic and security problems this vast number of refugees poses on the Continent.”
Sudan’s Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Abdelghani El Naeem welcomed the German overture. “Sudan’s borders are very long and open for the influx of refugees, and we need due support and backing to meet the inflow of asylum seekers,” he said.
“The recent successive visits to Sudan by European officials are a recognition of the crucial role Sudan can play in the effort for curbing the immigration problem. [..] “Sudan can help in this endeavour, given the creation of development projects,” he added.
The Under-Secretary also had a meeting with British officials on Wednesday. He discussed with the director of migration at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, James Sharp, the representative to the Horn of Africa for the National Crime Agency (NCA), Roy Godding, opportunities for cooperation and coordination between Sudan and the UK in immigration and police domains.
“It has been agreed in principle to prepare a memo or an agreement between Sudan and the Britain to promote cooperation in the police and migration domains”, he said according to Sudan Tribune.
El Naeem called for addressing causes of illegal migration, and emphasised the importance of stopping any political or material support to the Sudanese rebel groups. He said that the civil wars directly contribute to the flow of refugees into Europe, which requires those countries to convince the rebel groups to engage in a serious dialogue to achieve permanent peace in Sudan.
After heading a visit of European diplomats to eastern Sudan in October, the head of the EU Delegation to Sudan called for more cooperation between Sudan and the EU “to protect asylum seekers, improve border management, confront smuggling, and provide meaningful alternatives to the migrants and the host communities.”
EU Ambassador Tomas Ulicny pointed to the low development rates in eastern Sudan in particular and the Horn of Africa in general as the main causes for the migration and human trafficking.
The majority of the refugees in eastern Sudan come from Eritrea. In a report in June, the UN Human Rights Council referred to widespread “gross human rights violations” in Eritrea, including mass incarceration of political opponents, extra-judicial killings and torture. The Eritrean government dismissed the report.
Refugees in eastern Sudan are increasingly subjected to well-organised abductions. After they are kidnapped, they are ‘sold’ to criminal gangs who subjected them torture, in order to pressure their relatives to pay large sums of money for their release. International organisations earlier referred to the involvement of Sudanese army and security officials in the human trafficking.
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