The socialist interview
Collaborating to deny human rights
Neil Cafferky spoke to Sadiq Abakar, an asylum seeker from Darfur, after a Save Sadiq protest against his deportation outside the UK Home Office.
Neil Cafferky: Can you briefly explain how you came to Britain?
Sadiq Abakar: I arrived in the country on 20 October 1999. The problem we had at that time was the government were arming the Arab militias and killing the black African tribal groups. I tried to let other people in Sudan know about what was happening. I was arrested and put in jail. I escaped and left the country and then came to this country and applied for asylum.
NC: What has been the response of the Home Office to your application for asylum?
SA: Since that time I am waiting for something to happen with my case, waiting for asylum so I can stay in the country and be safe. That's what I'm looking for, safety. But the Home Office keeps refusing my case.
NC: There have been reports that the Home Office has been using Sudanese officials from the embassy to interview Sudanese asylum seekers. Has this happened to you?
SA: Well the Home Office have had Sudanese from the embassy inside the Home Office questioning Darfuris and not just for me, many many Darfurians. I am one of those who have been questioned by Sudanese government officials along with Home Office people.
NC: There have also been allegations from other Sudanese asylum seekers that the Sudanese government has been sending security officials, spies in effect, to track Sudanese dissidents and refugees. Have you had any experience of such things?
SA: We (Sudanese asylum seekers) have had many protests outside Parliament, the Home Office and the Sudanese embassy. While we are there we see people from the embassy and others filming us. Darfuris who are filmed on these demos and then sent back to Sudan are questioned by the police about being on protests and get extra torture for protesting against the government abroad. If you remember there was a programme on Channel 4 about a Darfuri who was sent back and tortured very badly for protesting in Britain. But the Home Office doesn't care; they just deport you back to Sudan and hand you over to the authorities there.
NC: You've been living here for nine years. Can you talk a bit about your life here?
SA: Well I try to live a normal life here and be safe just like everyone else. I was studying English at Lambeth FE but I couldn't enrol for the end of the course because of my asylum situation and because they raised the price of the course. I have been part of the Socialist Party as well which has been really good to help me carry on and also help other people.
NC: Finally on the situation in Darfur itself, will the UN send more troops? Should western troops be sent to Darfur?
SA: I don't think the Sudanese government will agree to white troops being sent. They prefer to see other African troops on the ground. African troops are part of the Sudanese government; they don't do anything to help people in Darfur. If western troops go in maybe it can help. It's not good to have any foreign troops in your country but also there is a genocide happening. Even having foreign troops in is better than genocide.
NC: But if western troops do go in do you think you could have a situation like in Somalia where, when the Americans intervened they ended up taking sides in a complicated civil war and ended up making the situation worse?
SA: Well I don't think it's similar to the Somalia situation. Our situation is that the government is killing us; in Somalia you have a civil war where different ethnic groups are trying to lead the government. In Darfur the government want to push the black Africans out of Sudan into other African countries. That's the idea of the war there.