By Sally Namuye
Amnesty International has called upon Sudan’s neighboring countries to provide safe passage for refugees.
The organization laments that refugees have been faced with a tough choice of whether to stay at the border where they have no access to amenities or whether to return to the conflict.
“Allowing swift passage across borders for all people fleeing the conflict and providing immediate access to asylum registration would ease the dire humanitarian situation along the borders,” said Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s regional director for East and Southern Africa
Chagutah said those fleeing the conflict should not be denied access due to lack of identification documents or visas because this exposes them to a lot of risks they are trying to flee from.
“Countless individuals who have successfully crossed borders continue to face uncertainty and vulnerability. They encounter difficulties in accessing asylum and/or maintaining their status due to their inability to renew expiring or expired identification documents.” He said.
Most people who are fleeing from Khartoum have been subjected to a lot of scrutiny and harassment on roadblocks and checkpoints from authorities thus limiting their chances to flee.
They have also been forced to spend the night at the Wadi Halfa border without basic facilities like food, shelter, water and sanitation.
“ A military intelligence officer interviewed me for two hours asking why I was leaving, what I used to do in Khartoum and whether I was willing to join the army. I said I wanted to cross to Ethiopia and seek safety. I was allowed to go through the border, “said a refugee.
The organization called upon the international community under the international human rights law and refugee law to offer their support to Sudanese individuals to help mitigate the already fragile situation in the country.
“All countries must lift restrictions impeding the prompt, safe and dignified entry of all individuals fleeing Sudan without discrimination, ensuring that all asylum seekers have unrestricted access to fair and effective asylum procedures and humanitarian assistance”, said Chagutah.