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Sudan undertaking measures to stop human trafficking: official

March 22, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The city of Kassala in eastern Sudan announced that government agencies are implementing strict measures in border areas to stop human trafficking, as well as food and fuel smuggling to neighbouring countries.

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Refugees wait to be registered at Shagarab refugee camp in eastern Sudan, often the first point of entry for Eritreans fleeing oppression in their homeland (UNHCR)

The mayor of Kassala locality, Osman Mohamed Nur, told the government-sponsored the Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website that the recently enacted federal law on the prevention of human trafficking and smuggling, as well as state legislation on the same matter have contributed to curbing this phenomena.

This month members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) called on Egypt and Sudan to take action to investigate and prosecute human traffickers accused of kidnapping, torturing, and killing Eritrean refugees in the Sinai Peninsula.

Thousands of Eritreans have fled repression in their homeland, which is referred to as the North Korea of Africa, usually transiting via Sudan and Egypt en route to Europe, Israel or other countries.

In a statement issued on 13 March on behalf of the council, Hanns Schumacher, Germany’s permanent representative, said there was substantial evidence that Eritrean refugees had been the target of physical and sexual abuse “in a most brutal, frequent and systematic way”.

While Schumacher acknowledged that both Sudan and Egypt had taken some steps to address the issue, the practice continued and instruments in place to address this situation – both at national and international level – are either lacking or not sufficiently implemented or enforced.

“We urge all countries concerned to launch a concerted effort to identify, and to investigate the alleged involvement of officials, and to hold accountable all persons involved in these horrendous crimes,” he said.

(ST)