Sunday People

Treat Sudan refugees same as Ukrainians

UK ‘biased against Africa’

- EXCLUSIVE BY MIKEY SMITH Whitehall Correspond­ent

BRITAIN has been accused of discrimina­ting against people fleeing conflict in Sudan in favour of those escaping from Ukraine.

Refugees of Russia’s war can obtain a visa in as little as 48 hours, while Ukrainians in the UK can sponsor a visa for relatives to live with them.

But no such schemes are in place for Sudan, where more than 700 have been killed in five weeks of fighting between rival army factions.

Over 100,000 have fled including Hassam ‘Sam’ Saeed, 29 – stuck in Cairo despite his dad and siblings living in Rotherham, South Yorks.

He said: “On my worst days I see it as discrimina­tion against people like us who are considered ‘third world’.”

Sam, a budding photograph­er, said his father wanted to host him but there is no legal way in.

Now he exists on three meals a week, according to refugee charity the Sanctuary Foundation.

Its founder Dr Krish Kandiah said Sam told him he had seen an interview with a Western politician who urged quick

I’ve spent my life learning … so I can get a chance to see the UK

action to help “educated, civilised people” in Ukraine.

“He said, ‘When the conflict happened in Sudan, the UK government took initiative with their people, but not us,’” said Dr Kandiah.

“‘We are civilised people and

I’ve spent my whole life learning. Educating myself. Like, literally standing in front of a mirror to practise English so I can get the chance some day to see the UK’.”

The charity is to deliver a petition to Downing Street calling on the Government to open the same sponsorshi­p programmes to Sudanese refugees as for Ukrainians.

Last week Dr Kandiah spoke to refugees who crossed the border to Egypt. Most wanted to stay in the region, with just one – Sam – aiming for the UK.

The Government said there were no plans for a “bespoke resettleme­nt route” for Sudan and it was focused on working with the UN to end the fighting.

A spokesman added: “Since 2015 we have offered a safe and legal route to the UK to almost half a million people seeking safety. Our approach must be considered in the round, rather than on a crisis-by-crisis basis.”

 ?? ?? PLEA Sam, left, with Dr Kandiah
CRISIS Sudan’s capital Khartoum
PLEA Sam, left, with Dr Kandiah CRISIS Sudan’s capital Khartoum

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