"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

Darfuri asylum seekers in the UK

  • Since 2003, ninety per cent of non-Arab villages in Darfur have been attacked and destroyed by the Sudanese armed forces and their proxies, the Janjaweed militia. An estimated 300,000 Darfuris have been killed and almost three million are internally displaced as a result of this top-level government-orchestrated campaign of ethnic cleansing.

    Darfuri people arrive in Britain claiming asylum because they are escaping the ongoing and systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing against their non-Arab groups in Darfur.  It is estimated that there are between 3,000 and 4,000 Darfuri asylum seekers in the UK.  Many face the threat of deportation and subsequent arrest, torture and even murder by the security services of the Sudanese regime if they are returned home.

    Since 2007 the Article 1 team has worked with Darfuri asylum seekers, refugees, human rights NGOs and lawyers.  We have developed strong relationships with these groups and can offer quality practical and emotional support, information, advice, and access to lawyers in order to protect the rights of Darfuris.  We bring together the Darfuri diaspora to share problems and solutions, and to make their voice heard as a group.

    We also have a working relationship with the UK Home Office and Border Agency, getting a hearing by Government officials and achieving tangible results for Darfuris.

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  • Case Studies of Asylum Seekers
  • Quotes
  • Links

Hamid: In July 2008, Hamid called us, explaining that the Home Office was trying to send him back to Sudan and that he had just been given a plane ticket for Khartoum. As a member of the JEM Darfuri rebel group, he would most certainly be detained, tortured or killed by the authorities on his return.  However, the Home Office was claiming that it would be safe for Hamid to be returned.  In response to Hamid’s call, Article 1 took the following action:

  • Wrote a letter to the  then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith which included signatures from other organisations asking the Home Office to halt the removal of Hamid and to review its policy on returns to Sudan in general.
  • Contacted MPs and peers asking them to raise Hamid’s case and the issue of returns to Sudan of Darfuris with the Home Office.
  • Launched a public campaign to stop Hamid’s deportation, which included asking our supporters to email the Home Office and the publishing of a pro bono quarter page advertisement in the Independent newspaper.

As a result, Hamid was not deported. Instead, he was released from detention and later given refugee status. In response to Hamid’s case, the Home Office also halted all further removals of non-Arab Darfuris to Sudan.

Yahya:  In August 2008 Yahya was returned to Khartoum, having become despondent and depressed with the process of claiming asylum in the UK.  Once there, he was followed by the Sudanese authorities as he travelled to Darfur where he was murdered in front of his family.  The Article 1 team secured Yahya’s death certificate and witness statements from his wife and another witness as well as other details for the defence lawyers. The information collected provided concrete evidence that it is not safe for Darfuris to be returned to Sudan.    We also worked with a journalist to secure a front page article in the Independent to highlight the issue to the general public. This evidence was provided to the Home Office, and contributed to their decision to stop returning non-Arab Darfuris to the Sudan.

Zainab:  In 2011 Zainab was due to be returned to Sudan, despite having been arrested and tortured four times by the Sudanese security forces.  Article 1 successfully campaigned with lawyers and relevant NGOs to stop her deportation.  We also secured her funds from Prisoners of Conscience while she was destitute and awaiting a decision from the Home Office.  Article 1 referred Zainab to the Helen Bamber Foundation for counselling.  Zainab has now been given refugee status by the Home Office.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

Article 1 is an organisation that has supported our client on a pro-bono basis during his time in and out of immigration detention by providing him with guidance and empowerment.

They have worked with the client and Refugee and Migrant Justice, to challenge his immigration detention in the UK and to secure his release from detention. They have assisted us in coordinating this case and winning compensation for his unlawful detention in the UK. They have a wide-ranging knowledge regarding the current affairs of Sudan and are able to provide a significant insight as a result.

We hope to continue our work with Article 1.

From a lawyer

From asylum seekers:

I have got my status document to remain in the UK.  I wanted to say big thanks to everyone who helped me especially Article 1, Sophie and all your colleagues.  Thank you so much.

I want to say many thanks because you helped me find a solicitor and now I have been granted refugee status by the Home Office.  I am so pleased you helped me.

Thank you very much for all your help, I really appreciate every thing you have done for me, and I am very, very happy for the continuous help you are giving to my people here in UK and back home in Darfur, I also want to thank the entire Article 1 for their untiring support for us.

Thank you so much. You really saved my life.

You have helped me more in this week than anyone else in the UK in the last four years.  Thank you.

Mohammed, asylum seeker

Every Darfuri remembers and is grateful to Article 1 for what you do.  We will never forget.

Amar, community leader

Everyone knows about the work of Article 1 and all Darfuris are happy for the work. Please continue!

From the Head of the Darfur Union: