State violence comes in many forms. As reported today on the front page of the Independent newspaper Adam Osman Mohammed was shot in Darfur after ‘voluntary’ return to Sudan from Britain where his appeal for asylum had been turned down. He was murdered by Sudanese security forces, at home, in front of his family, just a few days after his arrival at the airport. He had originally fled Darfur to UK via Chad, after attacks on him and his family by the Jangaweed militia, but that wasn’t good enough for the Home Office, who classed him as a ‘failed asylum seeker’.
The Home Office didn’t pull the trigger, but with the British government (like all nation states) determined to control borders and decide who can be in and who can be out, it is also responsible. The State in Britain also commits daily violence to asylum seekers by detention, forced removal, mental stress of uncertainty, lack of access to proper healthcare, and destitution. Death and suicide in (and also outside of) custody of detainees is not uncommon. Many asylum seekers choose so-called ‘voluntary return’ in exchange for a period of food and shelter beforehand and hope of a safer return without escort of immigration officials which is more likely to alert police and ‘security’ forces (e.g. under the Home Office’s Section 4 programme) but this decision is not taken lightly. In Darfur, and elsewhere, just returning after a time outside of the country can make you a target.
All this, and the terrible outcome of Adam Osman Mohammed’s return to Darfur, means that action to prevent and delay removal, ‘voluntary’ or otherwise, saves lives. In Nottingham, activists are working with asylum seekers with this very aim, whether they are from Sudan/Darfur, Congo, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Iraq or anywhere else they do not wish to return to. For more details, see: http://www.nottsrefugeeforum.org.uk/nrcg.htm
See also: Flying People to Torture & Death