Tom Stoppard on Darfuri Asylum Seekers

It really is quite remarkable. The Home Office. Insane, of course, but remarkable.

People flee Darfur because the government in Khartoum is oppressing them (code for trying to kill them). They get to hte UK and then the Home Office sends them back to Khartoum: straight into the hands of those trying to kill them.

The real issue is not about conditions in the camps, it’s about the beatings and torture. It’s about what happens on the ground in Khartoum when the British handcuffs are taken off the deportee, and when the British escorts hand their prisoner over to the Sudanese security officials.

At the Court of Appeal in April there was no ruling on that: the evidence available at the time was deemed insufficient.

Since then, the evidence that has become available is ample and compelling, most particularly from two named individuals who made the long journey from the horrors of Darfur to Britain, and from Britain, in handcuffs, to Khartoum; and from Khartoum, by escape, to a place of safety where they told their stories . . . “The beatings and questions went on for days . . . I was bleeding everywhere, I was completely soaked in blood. They never let me use a toilet. The room was covered with my faeces and urine.” The beatings began before the British escorts were clear of the airport.

But none of that will be allowed to be introduced into today’s proceedings, because it had not been put before the Court of Appeal (it arrived too late).

Two questions: (1) The Home Office knows that the line it takes (“A person will not be at real risk on return to Khartoum . . . Neither at the airport or subsequently will such a person face a real risk of being targeted for persecutory harm or ill treatment”) is codswallop – so, will it continue to press its case simply on the conditions in the camps?

(2) Gordon Brown earned a lot of points by taking up the Darfuris’ plight at the UN – so, will somebody tell him what his left hand is doing?

How did we get to this place, where we are ruled by the certifiably insane?

4 thoughts on “Tom Stoppard on Darfuri Asylum Seekers”

  1. Precedents are precedents and it’s a matter of parity of treatment with other victims of oppression who arrive in Britain.

    Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, has just announced that victims of sex trafficking could face deportation as a blanket guarantee that none would face deportation “would be likely to act more generally as a pull factor.”,,2182973,00.html

    Quite so – this is the equivalent of moral hazard in the context and exactly the same considerations apply to asylum seekers arriving in Britain from Darfur.

    Besides, there’s likely to be a general election.

  2. Tim if you are reading this the new site has a consistent problem with the left margin at the bottom – you can’t see the beginning left text

  3. Like Terry, I too see the left margin being gradually eroded as I scroll down the page.

    I’m using IE6

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