Sudan slammed for deporting refugees

2011-07-26 22:21

Geneva - The UN refugee agency on Tuesday condemned Sudan's deportation of asylum-seekers to Eritrea, which left one person dead and another one unconscious in hospital.

In an incident on Monday, "two asylum-seekers jumped off the truck carrying them to the border with Eritrea," said the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in a statement.

"One of them, aged 23, died from his injuries while the second, aged 17, is in hospital and unconscious... Another four asylum-seekers were deported despite the incident, including an adolescent," added the UNHCR.

Monday's deportation was not isolated. Since May, at least 30 asylum-seekers and refugees had been deported to Eritrea, "where UNHCR believes they are likely to face persecution".

The asylum-seekers had been charged with illegally entering Sudanese territory but had not been properly processed, thus violating international and Sudanese law, said the UNHCR.

Agency spokesperson Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba told AFP that "when people come from Eritrea, there is a basis to consider them as asylum-seekers," as they may be fleeing from military service imposed on male Eritreans for most of their productive lives.