Sudanese Defended His Right To Asylum in Russia

Bloody conflict continues in Darfur, hundreds of thousands have fled from the Republic of Sudan. However, in Russia in most cases they are refused to be recognized as refugees.

Nasr was born and raised in Darfur region where for the past 15 years violent ethnic conflict between government forces with the participation of the Janjaweed militia and local black population to which Nasr belongs.

According to the UN estimate, since the beginning of the military conflict in 2004, more than 200 thousand people have died in Darfur.

The Sudanese was forced to flee from his home country after his father and brother were killed by the Janjaweed militia. Nasr’s brothers and sisters urgently left the country and now live in different countries, holding refugee status.

In June 2018 Amnesty International published satellite images of Sudan which show severe destruction of settlements in Darfur. Two years earlier in 2016, Amnesty International published evidence of the use of chemical weapons by the Sudanese army against civilians, including young children, in the Jebel Marra district of Darfur.

Upon arrival to Russia, Nasr turned to the Main Directorate of Migration Affairs with an application for refugee status which he was later denied. Migration authorities deemed that Nasr had to apply for the status in Belarus where he initially arrived from Sudan. The fact that he was at the Department of Citizenship and Migration of Minsk City Executive Committee, and his attempt to apply for asylum was denied, was ignored by Russian officials.

Despite the fact that Belarus formally assumed international obligations to protect refugees by acceding to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, in reality, the country’s authorities don’t give Sudanese citizens opportunity to get legal status in the republic.

The statistics published on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus confirm this fact. During this period from 1997 to 2015, not a single citizen of Sudan received refugee status. Nasr was afraid of being expelled back to Sudan and that is why he decided to apply for refugee status in Russia where he arrived in 2016.

With the support of Maiwanda Aboudl Ghani, a lawyer of the Civic Assistance Committee, the Sudanese appealed the refusal to grant him refugee status first in the district court and then in the city court, but without success. Then he took a decision to apply for temporary asylum (humanitarian status granted for up to one year).

As a result, Nasr became one of the few Sudanese who holds temporary asylum status in Russia. According to Russian Federal State Statistics Service, by the end of the last year, only five citizens of this country had this status in Russia.

Nasr’s many fellow-countrymen were less fortunate in Russia: in April 2018 we wrote about Asaf, a Sudanese who was forced to leave Russia together with his Russian wife and daughter. And in 2016 with the support of the Civic Assistance Committee,  UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration within the framework of the resettlement programme, Mohammed Omer Ali from Darfur managed to get refugee status in a third country; for four years he tried to get this status in Russia, but he was denied.

Photo: still from the film “Attack on Darfur”

Translated by Sofia Ismailova