February 25, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - An exiled Ethiopian human rights group has accused the Sudanese government of further intensifying a crackdown against Ethiopian political refugees.
The Berlin based, Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners (SOCEPP) alleged that Sudanese police have raided houses and rounded up Ethiopians in Omdurman and many parts of the capital, Khartoum, for forcible deportation.
Following the crackdown, a truck carrying Ethiopian refugees, who were held for deportation, had an accident, leaving dead 42 Ethiopians and two Sudanese police men.
SOCEPP condemned the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) for failing to defend the rights of Ethiopian refugees who currently are languishing and awaiting deportation at different detention facilities across Sudan.
“The violation by the Sudan of the rights of the refugees continues with gross impunity in the absence of any objection by the UNHCR or other human rights organizations,” the group said in a statement sent to Sudan Tribune.
The group strongly argues that if these Ethiopian refugees are deported they would risk prosecution by the Addis Ababa government of Meles Zenawi.
“Experience has proved that those deported by the Sudan like Azanaw Demile have been disappeared by the Meles regime with no protest whatsoever by the international community”
SOCEPP condemned the action by the Sudanese authorities and appealed on the international community to urgently intervene and take proper steps to protect the rights of Ethiopian refugees in Sudan.
The forced deportation, according to the group, is done in special arrangement between Addis Ababa and Khartoum in violation to the Geneva Convention on Refugees and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
It accused Sudanese authorities of offering continued help in apprehending Ethiopian dissidents to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government in breach to international laws.
Last year, SCOEPP similarly accused Sudanese authorities of deporting former Ethiopian opposition politician, Andualem Alemayo, in the central Kober prison in Khartoum after he entered the country from neighbouring Eritrea where he had been criticising the Ethiopian government via radio and television programs in Asmara.
In recent years, the Sudanese Government has handed over to Ethiopia a number of Ethiopian political refugees mainly those who are suspected of being members of Eritrea-backed Ethiopian resistance groups.
Sudan is also accused of forcibly deporting hundreds of Eritrean refugees. Last year the United Nations refugee agency condemned Khartoum over the deportation of Some 361 Eritrean refugees and asylum-seekers despite a previous agreement with the UN.