Tortured Sudanese refugees: the European Union and its Member States morally responsible

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On September 27, the European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH) denounced the cooperation of Belgium, France and other Member States of the European Union with Sudan, in particular to the detriment of any consideration for their obligations under, inter alia, the United Nations Convention against Torture.. The leader of this dictatorship is under an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide. The regime of this country is known for the violence perpetrated against its population and the repeated violations of fundamental rights. This proven cooperation consists, in particular, for some EU Member States in inviting Sudanese security services members on site to identify and expel Sudanese, including where appropriate from asylum seekers of Sudanese origin.

This week, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy revealed testimonies of Sudanese nationals identified by the Sudanese services and returned by Belgium to Khartoum who suffered upon their arrival from threats, restriction of freedom and torture by the Sudanese authorities. Following these revelations, the Belgian government and, in particular, the Prime Minister, Charles Michel, and its Secretary of State for asylum, Theo Francken, continued to assume this policy while suspending the expulsions of Sudanese “until an investigation verifies the reality of the reported facts”. They refer to the agreements reached in the framework of the Khartoum Process and state that they follow the examples of France and Italy in this respect.

AEDH and its member organisations in Belgium, France and Italy – LDH-France, LDH-Belgium and LIDU – are not surprised by these revelations and consider the Belgian, French and Italian governments morally responsible for the degrading treatments that the returned Sudanese refugees endured. A shared responsibility with the European Union, initiator of the Khartoum process.