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Belgium deportation of Sudan refugee unlawful, says Europe Rights Court

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The European Court of Human rights has ruled that Belgium violated the rights of a Sudanese refugee when it deported him in spite of a court order which suspended the deportation and without first assessing the risk of human rights violations he could face if he returned to Sudan.

The 25-year-old Sudanese refugee, identified only as M.A., had entered Belgium unlawfully with the intention of traveling on to the United Kingdom.

He was stopped by the Belgian police in Brussels on August 18, 2017, and transferred to a migrant detention center, where he applied for asylum without the help of a lawyer or an interpreter.

In his application, M.A. stated that he had fled Sudan because he was wanted by the Sudanese authorities and feared for his life.

M.A. had to quickly withdraw his application, however, after finding out that Belgian authorities had enabled Sudanese authorities to meet with Sudanese refugees (including M.A.) who had entered Belgium unlawfully in an effort to identify and repatriate them.

He then filed a request for release with the Louvain Court of First Instance, this time with the help of a lawyer.

The Louvain Court of First instance issued an order prohibiting M.A.’s deportation from Belgium before a decision on his request to be released was rendered.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the deportation was unlawful because the Belgian authorities failed to properly assess the risks M.A. could face upon returning to Sudan and because they deported M.A. in spite of the court order suspending such measure.

The court also noted that, by failing to assign a lawyer and an interpreter to him during his application for asylum and by involving Sudanese authorities, the Belgian authorities prevented M.A. from effectively seeking asylum.

The ruling was met with the approval of Amnesty International, which had in 2017 publicly condemned the deportation of M.A . and 98 other Sudanese refugees that year and had urged Belgium to amend its expulsion procedures.

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