AMMAN, Jordan — The Jordanian authorities on Friday deported hundreds of Sudanese asylum seekers, most of them from the war-afflicted Darfur region, according to the United Nations and human rights groups.
The decision comes one month after the Sudanese began camping in front of the United Nations refugee agency building in Amman, demanding more aid from the United Nations and an acceleration of the process to resettle them in other countries.
“We have appealed and we continue to appeal to the government to stop the deportations from Jordan of Sudanese nationals who are registered with U.N.H.C.R. as refugees and asylum seekers,” Ariane Rummery, a spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, said by telephone on Friday.
According to the United Nations, more than 3,500 Sudanese had registered with the agency and as such had international protection. Ms. Rummery said 70 percent of those registered were from the Darfur region of Sudan, and their return there might put them at risk.
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director for Human Rights Watch, said, “Jordan should not punish these Sudanese merely because they protested for better conditions and for resettlement considerations.”
A government spokesman, Mohammad Momani, confirmed on Friday that deportations were underway, saying that “430 of them have traveled to Sudan and the rest will follow.” He added that the asylum seekers initially entered the country for medical treatment, “but then asked for refugee status.”
At 4 a.m. on Wednesday, the police rounded up about 800 Sudanese from the encampment they had set up in front of the refugee agency and told them to board 14 buses to Queen Alia International Airport, according to Human Rights Watch.
Jordan hosts hundreds of thousands of refugees. More than 750,000 are registered with the United Nations refugee agency, and the vast majority are Syrians. Although Jordan has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, it is bound by the international principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits governments from returning people to places where they risk persecution, torture or exposure to inhumane treatment or punishment.
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