The tremulous balance between sovereign border control and the violation of human rights has been stretched to the breaking point in Sudan, according to a new report released Wednesday by the European United Left/Nordic Green Group (GUE/NGL) of the European Parliament.
In addition to unilateral agreements between Italy and Sudan, the EU Trust Fund has allocated €878,8 million for migration control in the African Horn, with an extra €115 million bonus for Sudan; the EU Developmental Fund has allocated €1,98 billion as “a special measure for Sudan.”
“Our support will essentially focus on improving the living conditions for those who call Sudan home, helping returnees to the country to reintegrate back into society, and improving security at the borders,” Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said when he unveiled the €100 development package for Sudan.
This money has been set aside to achieve the aims from the Valletta Action Plan – “the prevention of and fight against irregular migration, migrant smuggling and the trafficking of human beings” – and to improve migration management.
The Border Migration Management (BMM) and Regional Operation Centre in support of the Khartoum Process and AU-Horn of Africa Window (ROCK) projects were both approved in 2016 to turn money into action.
The on-the-ground reports from representatives of the GUE/NGL party were less than ideal, however.
“Trying to make Sudan part of the EU’s fight against refugees from eastern Africa is neo-colonial madness,” Coordinator for the Civil Liberties Committee Cornelia Ernst said.
Other MEPs commented on the severe lack of humanitarian rights, especially among refugees and migrants. With the Sudanese Rapid Response Forces in charge of the northern border, abuses went unchecked and festered with no regulation to curb rights violations.
“What we have seen there is a society under absolute social, political and police control – paramilitary control even, in some places,” Basque MEP Josu Juaristi said. “Democracy and human rights are being undermined every day.”
Portuguese MEP João Pimenta Lopes commented that the EU’s monetary aid is aiding the Sudanese government and not the welfare of migrants.
It was noted in the report that Sudanese authorities were “well aware” of the opportunities the refugee crisis offered to “put pressure on the EU.”
“Sudan is trying to get its hands on EU funding, seeking to bypass and overcome international sanctions. And the EU is trying to take advantage of the Sudanese government’s intentions in order to enforce its criminal anti-migration policies in the region,” Lopes said.