Non-Arab asylum seekers from Darfur will be allowed to stay in Britain and will not be sent back to Sudan after it was deemed too dangerous, the Interior Ministry said.
The refugees will be able to remain in Britain for five years, with periodic reviews to be carried out on the safety of the war-torn African country.
The guidance update was influenced by recent reports from international organisations expressing concern about treatment of Darfuris returning to Khartoum, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said.
“All non-Arab Darfuris, regardless of their political or other affiliations, are at real risk of persecution in Darfur and internal relocation elsewhere in Sudan is not currently to be relied upon,” the Interior Ministry’s UK Border Agency concluded in its operational guidance note.
The human rights group Amnesty International said about 1200 Sudanese, many from Darfur, have applied for asylum in Britain during the past three years.
Up to now, they could be deported back to the Sudanese capital.
Mostly non-Arab Darfuri rebels took up arms against Sudan’s central government in early 2003, accusing it of neglect. The government mobilised mostly Arab tribes in a brutal counter-insurgency campaign that caused one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Non-Arab tribes in Darfur, located in western Sudan, tend to speak a language other than Arabic as their mother tongue. But after generations of inter-marriage it is sometimes difficult to differentiate non-Arabs from Arabs.
The United Nations estimates some 300 000 died in Darfur and 2.7 million driven from their homes, mostly farmers from non-Arab tribes. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in March for war crimes in Darfur.
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