By Amina Saddiq
At the end of March, the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns reported that, across the country, the Home Office had accelerated its programme of rounding up and deporting Sudanese asylum-seekers, including people from war-ravaged and ethnically-cleansed Darfur.
It is not just a question of people returning to Darfur itself. Many Darfuris (as well as other Sudanese) says that they will face death if they are returned to Sudan at all. Mohammed Abdulhadi Ali, a Darfuri asylum-seeker whose deportation was cancelled less than 24 hours before Solidarity went to press, was due to be flown to the Sudanese capital Khartoum. He told The Times: “If I have to go, I will be killed the moment the plane lands. There is no future for me if I go back.”
On 4 April the High Court issued “country guidance” about whether internal flight from Darfur to Khartoum is a real option for those fleeing ethnic cleansing in Darfur — and thus whether the UK government is “justified” in its deportations. Following revelations about the torture and killing of Darfuris in Khartoum, the judgement had been widely expected to go against the Home Office. While it will not automatically stop the deportations, it will make the government’s life much more difficult.
It looks as if Home Office ministers have been cynically trying to detain and deport as many Darfuris as possible before the High Court declares against them. This sordid episode is a powerful reminder of what the Blair government is.
Hundreds of thousands of Darfuris have been murdered and at least two million displaced by Sudan’s Islamist-military government and its proxy militias since 2003. Only about 1,000 survivors have managed to reach Britain, and yet the government is intent on shipping them back! And it’s not just Darfuris.
On 5 April, activists from the Congolese, Iraqi, Zimbabwean, Afghan, Pakistani and Somali communities in Manchester will demonstrate in Salford in solidarity with the Darfuris — but also against all the government’s deportations. While publicly condemning the perpetrators of massacre and genocide, the Blairites are deporting the victims back into the world’s disaster zones and the hands of the world’s most brutal regimes.
The labour movement must denounce with one voice New Labour’s barbarism and hypocrisy! Stop all deportations now!