Country guidance on Sudan non-Arab Darfuris stands

Legal Updates

Since last year, the Home Office has been trying to argue that the Sudan country guidance cases from 2009 and 2015 on non-Arab Darfuris should no longer be followed.

The first case, AA (Non-Arab Darfuris – relocation) Sudan from 2009, said that:

All non-Arab Darfuris are at risk of persecution in Darfur and cannot reasonably be expected to relocate elsewhere in Sudan.

The second case, MM (Darfuris) Sudan from 2015, decided that:

“Darfuri” is to be understood as an ethnic term relating to origins, not as a geographical term. Accordingly it covers even Darfuris who were not born in Darfur.

The Home Office position since at least mid-2018 has been that while non-Arabs are likely to be at risk in the Darfur region, not all would be at risk in the capital Khartoum. They therefore argued that internal relocation may be possible depending on the particular facts of the case.

What is a country guidance case?

These are asylum appeals chosen by the immigration/asylum tribunal to give legal guidance for a particular country, or a particular group of people in a particular country.

The decisions in these cases are assumed to be based on the best possible evidence about that country at that time.

Until there are significant changes in that country, a country guidance decision sets out the law for other people seeking asylum from that country.

You can find a list of the country guidance cases here (although it has not been updated since March 2019).

It’s important to know about country guidance cases that are relevant to you (or someone you’re supporting), when challenging a Home Office refusal, or maybe when submitting evidence to be considered as a fresh asylum claim.

What is internal relocation?

One of the factors that will be considered when deciding if you need protection in the UK is whether there is somewhere else in your country you could go and be safe.

To show that internal relocation is not going to protect you, you would either need to prove that the risk you face would follow you to where you were relocated (e.g. you would be tracked down by those trying to harm you), or that you may be safe from persecution but other risks would present themselves.

Country guidance cases unchanged

In September, the Upper Tribunal rejected the Home Office’s argument that returns of non-Arab Darfuris could be resumed.

The Home Office had been attempting to prove that the previous country guidance cases were no longer “good law” (meaning, they should no longer be followed), including through a fact-finding mission in August 2018.

Since then, protests, mass arrests, torture and violence broke out in Sudan. The Home Office wanted to delay the legal proceedings (if past behaviour is anything to go by, so that the violence would have died down and that they would be more likely to get a judgment meaning they can resume returns), but this was refused.

The Upper Tribunal ruled in September – in a case called AAR & AA (Non-Arab Darfuris – return) Sudan [2019], which you can read here – that:

The answer to the Country Guidance question that was originally asked in these appeals is as follows. The situation in Sudan remains volatile after civil protests started in late 2018 and the future is unpredictable. There is insufficient evidence currently available to show that the guidance given in AA (non-Arab Darfuris – relocation) Sudan CG [2009] UKAIT 00056 and MM (Darfuris) Sudan CG [2015] UKUT 10 (IAC) requires revision. Those cases should still be followed.

General situation in Sudan

The Human Rights Watch summary on the situation in Sudan is as follows:

You can find the latest statements from Human Rights Watch on Sudan here, and from Amnesty International here.

In-depth human rights reports may not be up-to-date enough if you are wishing to evidence recent unrest, violence or persecution. Human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International do, however, often release statements when major incidents occur.

Another source of up-to-date information on human rights abuses is well-respected journalism (from newspapers seen to be independent and credible).

For example, the New York Times newspaper reported in July on the killing of student protesters. The arrest and detention of protesters was continuing in September, as reported by the Middle East Eye. Voice of America news reported that protests were still happening in Sudan as recently as this week. You can find the last reporting on Sudan in the Guardian newspaper here.


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