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The Socialist 4 April 2007 |
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Darfur: Deported asylum seekers tortured and murdered
Save Sadiq Abakar
AN INVESTIGATION by the United Nations (UN) in 2005 accused the Sudan-backed Janjaweed militias of carrying out the mass murder of civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan. But despite the continuing atrocities, the British government continues to deport Darfur asylum seekers. ROB MACDONALD reports on the plight of one such asylum seeker.
SADIQ ABAKAR has been in Britain for over seven years awaiting asylum. He is from the Zagawa tribe in Darfur, Sudan, where there has been on-going genocide and civil war.
Sadiq fled Sudan in 1999 after he and his brother were jailed for protesting against the government; his brother was later killed in prison. His father has since been killed along with many others from Darfur.
Sadiq spent 35 days in a cargo container to escape death and arrived in Britain. Despite this he has had his asylum plea denied and faces the immediate prospect of being sent back.
Immigration officials have tried to tag him like a criminal and have raided his home. In the past seven years Sadiq has become part of the local community. He learnt English at Lambeth FE College and played a leading role in the Students Union in 2006 fighting cuts and privatisation. He has recently become a father, so now has a young family. All Sadiq wants is normal life.
In the last few weeks the Home Office has been attempting to return Darfur asylum seekers to Sudan. Recent reports confirm that people being returned to Sudan are being tortured and murdered. This has now been proved by the recent Channel 4 News report of Sadiq Osman who was brutally tortured in Sudan after being deported from Britain.
Attempting to appease the racist press, the government and the parliamentary opposition fall over themselves to be the hardest on asylum seekers. In doing so they try to deflect blame for the lack of social provision in Britain onto the most vulnerable. By the end of the year, in Lambeth alone, there will have been £5 million cuts to adult provision and social services, and a serious attack and cutting of access to ESOL (English) courses. This will only further decay the social fabric of areas like Lambeth.
The situation in Darfur is barbarism itself. Over 400,000 have been killed and 2.5 million have been displaced - 80,000 in January and February of this year. Only about 1,000 have claimed asylum in Britain but despite this the Home Office continues to refuse asylum and has recently attempted to round up Darfur asylum seekers. The British government is working closely with the Sudanese embassy, whose staff are from the regime that is linked to groups like the Janjaweed who are killing families in Darfur.
The situation in Sudan stems from the historical legacy left by British imperialism of the last few centuries as is the case with many African nations. In the bi-centenary of the so-called abolition of the slave trade it is a disgrace that the British state still treats black Africans like Sadiq as no better than a slave.
Last minute action by protesters and a legal case have prevented about 15 Sudanese being sent back recently. But the situations like those of Sadiq are urgent. If nothing is done they will be sent back to death and torture.
We can do something by combating the lies of the government and raising the question of the general treatment of asylum seekers in this country, as well as by building the campaign to save Sadiq.
Please sign the petition online, email your support through to [email protected], join the activities and protests or find further information at www.save-sadiq.t83.net. Also get your trade union or student union branch to support the campaign and make a donation.
Over 120 delegates to NUS conference signed the petition including the entire National Executive.
- Don't send Sadiq back to Sudan.
- Full asylum and citizen rights now for Sadiq.
- Keep a family together.
- Stop criminalising people who have come from desperate situations.