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News and Press ReleasesGovernment official:The EU wants Sudan to be a large prison for migrants

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Government official:The EU wants Sudan to be a large prison for migrants

12-29-2016, 06:38 PM
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Government official:The EU wants Sudan to be a large prison for migrants

    06:38 PM December, 29 2016

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    Interviewed by: Salih Amaar*
    A Sudanese government official accused the European Union (EU) of seeking to turn Sudan into “a large prison for migrants”.
    He said that the European Union is focusing on security and policing aspects in their efforts to stop the waves of migrants arriving in their countries, migrants who transit through Sudan, while they are not properly attributing due importance to the activities “of development and awareness”.
    Ismail Omar Tairab, a member of the (Sudanese National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking), questioned and expressed this is not clear perplexity in the advertisements and declarations released regarding the decline in human smuggling through Sudan to Europe. He went further mentioning that in contrast there is likely possibility that the smugglers are developing tactics, citing the increasing number of migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean as evidence.
    In his interview with the Eltaghyeer Electronic newspaper (change newspaper) - Ismail Teerab called upon the European countries to help Sudan and African countries in addressing development challenges , and stressed that the current policy would cause deterioration of relations between states and the peoples, because some countries may be forced to close its borders, which will lead to "serious consequences ".
    Teerab admitted the weakness in the performance of his committee in dealing with the trafficking in Sudan, two years since its establishment, and attributed this weakness to the failure to allocate a budget for the committee. Furthermore he complained that the committee do not possess offices, and the poor performance of some of its members, and noted in this context that some members in the committee did not know the meaning of (human trafficking) basically. The committee was established under the law denominated (Anti-Human Trafficking) Act in 2014, to develop strategies to combat the phenomenon. This phenomenon has recorded an unprecedented rising rates in parts of Sudan since 2010 has led to its invasion and transformation as ahead or a leading global hub in the list of countries where gangs of (human trafficking) are active and where governments are not genuine in taking practical measures to combat the phenomenon, as stated also in the report issued by the US State Department at the end of 2015.
    The following is the text of the interview:
    Q: When was the committee created and what are its goals؟
    The committee was created at the end of 2014, in accordance with the Anti-Human Trafficking Law of 2014. According to this law, the committee is the highest authority charged with fighting and presenting solutions to the driving causes of human trafficking crimes.
    Q: Who are the members of the committee and what is its organizational structure؟
    The committee is composed of 15 members and its head is the executive of the Ministry of Justice. The regulations say that the committee has to meet every 3 months, and there is an executive committee of 5 people that manages the work.
    Q: What is the nature of your relationship with other agencies, such as the judiciary and the police؟
    Regarding our relationship with the police and the judiciary, we, as a committee, request from them reports and we make recommendations to all donors. We generally work within a framework of: protection , prevention, partnership and prosecution.
    Our real focus is on protection and prevention. The partnership is an executive matter and we only give advice. Additionally, Judicial persecution is within the speciality of the judiciary and the police.
    Q: Do you work directly with victims؟
    We don’t have direct contact with victims. Therefore we coordinate with some organizations such as the IOM and UNICEF, because we don’t have safe housing or anything else to offer victims. We requested from the IOM, the Europeans and the Americans to help us by providing four safe houses for victims of human trafficking.
    Q: What is your current evaluation of the activities of human traffickers in Sudan؟
    According to the reports produced from the Ministry of Interior, our activities were at their peak between 2014-2015, but currently (in 2016) they have regressed.
    Q: Is this a result of policy and security efforts against human trafficking, or are there other elements involved؟
    It is logical to ask if this publically announced restriction is a result of police efforts or due to a change in the strategy by traffickers. Smugglers have modern and substantial means, and I bet that they change their strategies. The proof is that there is no reduction in migration on the Mediterranean sea and others corridors.
    Q: The minister of interior declared a few months ago that there is no human trafficking in Sudan, how do you react to this؟
    Trafficking as a practice is happening in a narrow scope. And usually takes place in the form of opportunistic practices toward foreigners, such as Ethiopian domestic workers, whose passports are held. Most of the human trafficking activities were done by members of one tribe from Eastern Sudan, who kidnap refugees and sometimes Sudanese nationals and ask for ransom as a condition for their release. But we don’t have other dangerous acts such as forced labor in mines or factories; or drug smuggling. And other things that happen in Europe, such as taking photos of young women in sexually compromising positions and putting them on the internet. Or what happens in Colombia with labor violations or in Egypt with trading in human organs. We don’t have all of that in Sudan.

    Q: After two years of creating your committee, what are your main accomplishments؟
    We participated in a number of international gatherings including in: London, Addis Ababa, Cairo, Italy, Bahrain and Qatar. The last gathering in Addis Ababa was about mixed migration and we put forward the 2 most important recommendations and they were endorsed. They were: 1) creating welcoming centers for refugees/migrants; and 2) creating a mechanism of saving victims in the common desert between Egypt, Libya and Sudan. This gathering was sponsored by the IOM and their recommendations will be shared with the United Nations.
    The committee manages all of the sectors including Social Services, Police Offers, Prosecutors, Judges. 30 people represent each sector respectively. There are also 12 people from the committee. We are also planning training for media sector and some of the committee members.
    Q: Don’t you think that these accomplishments are weak in comparison to the challenges awaiting you؟
    The accomplishments are weak for sure. One of the reasons is that the committee does not have a physical work space; we are working from our houses and we have no budget. We submitted a budget for our operations for 2015 and we did not receive a penny, likewise for 2016. We are mostly implementing our operations from the budget of the Ministry of Justice; and they are often in a weak position as a result of that. Additionally, the personnel chosen from the various ministries had a poor performance and did not contribute substantially. Some of them don’t even know what human trafficking means, and some ministries keep changing their representatives.
    Q: What is your plan for the next period؟ Is there anything new؟ .
    Yes. We have put in place “The National Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy”, and it started from the beginning of 2016 and will continue for the next five years. Some of its most important aspects includes: building the capacities of the judiciary, prosecutors and police officers; raising awareness amongst a number of sectors such as civil society organizations, youth, students, teachers, local administrations and the general public. In addition to building partnerships with neighbouring countries.
    Q: What are the steps and practical plan to implement this strategy؟
    We put in place a cooperation plan with the IOM and UNODC, and we put forward an operational budget to the government, to allow the committee to implement its work and conduct meetings etc. We will start with states that have activities. There is a media plan in the making. As a committee we have comments regarding the Anti-Human Trafficking Law, and we will put forward a request with amendments to the law to the Minister of Justice. These recommendations encompass the smuggling of persons alongside human trafficking, and specify a percentage of funds (where there has been a ruling to confiscate them) for the committee’s operational work.
    Q: There are accusations that the government is looking for financial gain without actual efforts extended, what is your response to that؟
    The government is not asking for money. What we are asking for is technical support and capacity-building. I’ve been working in the humanitarian sector for seven years and have not seen funds from donors specified for developments. All funding is for emergencies and everything is accounted for.
    Q: Does your committee get any foreign funding/support؟
    There is international support in the form of training and attending conferences. But there isn’t any direct funding. The IOM has agreed to set up an office for the committee if such an office is made available.
    Q: The European Union (EU) announced a partnership with Sudan on migration issues. Have you received any EU support؟
    The EU wants to turn Sudan into a large prison for migrants, and that’s why all of the partnerships they have built are with the police. And this approach is not correct. What is correct is that there is a need to work with the police, but developmental and awareness-raising activities are also needed. We were expecting to work with them on these activities. For example, today there are a lot who run away from refugee camps because of the poor conditions in these camps. We would like them to work with us on protection and prevention, just as they are work on the security and policy sectors.
    Q: But they did announce a big financial support to the government of Sudan.
    We corresponded with the EU, and we did not get anything from them. They are not interested in us. There was, for instance, a Euro-British delegation that visited Sudan a few weeks ago; and they visited our committee on their last day before they left after spending two days in meetings with the police. This means that we are not important for them, visiting us was just a formality.
    Q: What do you expect the EU to do؟
    Europe should help our countries with developing our societies. Their current policy might lead to the deterioration of relations amongst countries in the region, because some of them might close their borders and that has consequences. We do not want to move in that direction. We have a moral obligation toward migrants. But I fear that with the current situation we might lose our ethical stand and that conflicts might arise between nations.
    Sudanese youth as also joined the ranks of groups seeking migration to Europe, because of the failure of developmental projects that we were depending on to absorb those youth. And due to the sanctions on Sudan which have hindered development and therefore migration is on the increase even among the Sudanese.
    Translated by : Dalia Haj Omar
    [email protected]



    أبرز عناوين سودانيز اون لاين صباح اليوم الموافق 29 ديسمبر 2016

    اخبار و بيانات

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  • عمر البشير :المرحلة المقبلة ستركز على تجويد التعليم العالي
  • بيان هيئة محامي دارفور حول إطلاق سراح رئيس وقيادات حزب المؤتمر السوداني
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