Solidarity and Safe Routes for Sudan

We knew the Asylum Ban Bill would set a new precedent for deterring desperate people from seeking asylum in the UK. What we didn’t know is that it would happen so soon.

What’s happening?

Violent outbreaks have forced tens of thousands of men, women and children to flee their homes. The UK has deep historical ties with the East African country, and the latest statistics show that 84% of asylum claims from Sudanese refugees are granted.

The UK government arranged a limited number of evacuation flights for UK nationals, but the home secretary has stated that there are no plans to create safe routes to the UK for Sudanese refugees. Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, said that Sudanese refugees should apply instead for asylum in the UK via the UNHCR.

To this, the UNHCR responded with their own statement, saying that ‘there is no mechanism through which refugees can approach UNHCR with the intention of seeking asylum in the U.K’ as ‘there is no application process for resettlement.’ They go on to say that ‘new resettlement opportunities to the UK are minimal, and there is no quota for any nationality currently in place.’

Under the new Illegal Migration Bill (which passed its Third Reading in the House of Commons on 26th April despite criticism from high-profile Conservative politicians), Sudanese refugees who arrive on small boats will be prevented from claiming asylum. Rather, they will be sent to Rwanda or another third country, on the basis that they should have used (fictional) safe routes instead of small boats.

The government is deceiving the public into turning its back on Sudanese refugees by pretending that safe routes exist when they do not.

What does the community say?

Dr Ashraf Abdelfatah, a long-standing member of the Sudanese community in the local area, writes:

As a member of the Sudanese community in the UK and the grandson of the first President of the Sovereign Council of Sudan, I am writing to express our deep concern for the situation in Sudan.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese people have been displaced and are currently without security, looking for a safe place to harbour. We are particularly worried about the plight of Sudanese medics who worked with NHS, and who were left with no help. It is unclear if this situation is still continuing, but we urge the UK government to take immediate action to address the needs of these valuable medical professionals.

We are calling on the UK government to deploy a similar plan to the one they used for Ukraine, in order to provide support and assistance to those who have been affected by the conflict in Sudan. We also request that the UK government work towards family reunions for those who have strong contacts in the UK.

Above all, we urge the UK government to play its international role in stopping the bloodshed and finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Sudan. We believe that Refugee Support Group can play an important role in advocating for the needs of the Sudanese community and we appreciate your continued support.

What can we do?

We must stand in solidarity with our local Sudanese community and demand real safe routes now:

1. Demand safe routes

Sign the petition (here) to demand that the government create a Sudanese Family Scheme visa comparable to the one made available to Ukrainians.

2. Oppose the Illegal Migration Bill

The Illegal Migration Bill will come to the House of Lords for debate from 10th May.

MP template letters have been developed by Women for Refugee Women, Safe Passage and the Salvation Army.

Sign the petitions launched by Freedom from Torture and Praxis.

3. Learn about alternatives

Read here about Free Movement’s ideas for a better alternative to the Illegal Migration Bill.

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