As the U.S. marks “National Migration Week” from Jan 3 to Jan 9, another record for migration endurance was set this week with the walk to freedom by Abdul Rahman Haroun of Sudan.
Haroun, 40, was reported to have walked almost the entire length of the 31-mile Channel tunnel from France to the UK where trains travel up to 99 mph along the line.
Initially arrested at the English end of the tunnel in August and charged with obstructing a railway, he was due to face trial this month. At a brief hearing at Canterbury crown court, the prosecutor Philip Bennetts said the 40-year-old had been granted asylum on Dec. 24.
Haroun has been supported by a small, local refugee rights group which was able to provide him with an address. This address was not disclosed in court.
Thousands of migrants have been camped out in dire conditions for months near Calais, the entry point of the tunnel on the French side, hoping to get to Britain. Most attempt the crossing by trying to board trains or trucks.
Meanwhile, in Jordan, some 800 Sudanese asylum seekers are being forcefully deported by Jordanian authorities. The vast majority come from the Darfur region and fled to Jordan to escape ongoing conflict. Over the past 18 months, a new Sudanese special force is reported to have committed war crimes and other abuses, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Some 30 to 40 children were among the refugee group which also included women.
Deporting refugees violates the customary international law principle of nonrefoulement, which forbids governments from returning people to places where they risk being persecuted, tortured, or exposed to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Jordan’s government spokesperson told the Associated Press that “asylum conditions don’t apply to [Sudanese]” because they entered Jordan under the pretext of seeking medical treatment.
“There is no excuse for Jordan to deport vulnerable asylum seekers back to Sudan, regardless of how they entered the country,” said Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy Middle East director. “Jordan should not punish these Sudanese merely because they protested for better conditions and for resettlement consideration.”
Some 4,000 Sudanese asylum seekers are currently in Jordan, according to the U.N.