Humanitarian Protection for the Victims of the Sudan Conflict

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice. 5 May 2023

The Humanitarian Protection Policy was introduced in 2003 to replace the policy on Exceptional Leave to Remain. The policy objective was to grant humanitarian protection and to provide protection and a period of limited leave to those who require protection, but do not qualify for refugee status.

What is the eligibility criteria?

To be successful a person must prove that they are in the United Kingdom and they do not qualify as a refugee as defined in Regulation 2 of the Refugee or Person in Need of International Protection (Qualification) Regulations 2006. The person must demonstrate that there are substantial grounds to believe that if they are returned to the country of return, they would face a real risk of suffering serious harm and are unable owing to such risk or unwilling to avail themselves to the protection of that country. In addition, they must not be excluded from the grant of humanitarian protection.

What are the grounds for Humanitarian Protection?

Humanitarian protection would be granted where there is a real risk of serious harm on account of one or more of the following grounds:

  1. There must be a real risk that the applicant would be intentionally deprived of their life or there is a real risk that they will be convicted and punished with death penalty in the country of return.
  2. There must be a real risk that the person would be unlawfully killed by the state and there is a real risk of targeted assignation by non-state agent and there is no effective protection.
  3. There must be a real risk of torture, degrading treatment or punishment.
  4. There must be systematically inhuman and life threatening by reason of the length of detention in prison facilities.
  5. General violence and other severe humanitarian conditions such as absence of water, food or basic shelter.
  6. Indiscriminate violence, article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive. This means that if an applicant is unable to establish the need for refugee protection the protection would be based on indiscriminate violence and that would be successful if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the person will suffer individual threat to civilian life by reason of indiscriminate violence in a situation of intentional or internal armed conflict.

But most importantly for the current climate in Sudan.

It is an example that the refugee convention protects victims of armed conflict because they are subjected to general indiscriminate violence, as opposed to being targeted upon a convention grant.

What do we know about the Sudan crisis?

More than 100,000 people have fled Sudan since heavy fighting broke out between rival forces on 15 April the UN has said. A further 334,000 people have been displaced within Sudan and fighting is continuing in the capital Khartoum between the army and the paramilitary rapid support forces (RSF) despite the ceasefire. Diplomatic efforts are being stepped up but it is clear that many refugees are fleeing over Sudan’s border with Egypt in the north and Chad on the west. In Khartoum food, water and electricity are running out and according to the UN much needed aid supplies are being warehoused because of the violence. UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Sudan Abdou Dieng said that the devastating fighting risked turning the country’s humanitarian crisis into a full-blown catastrophe.

We await with interest the UK’s government response to the Sudanese refugee crisis. Given the precedent of providing refugee for those escaping war in the Ukraine, we would reasonably expect the same to happen with those fleeing violence in Sudan and that British families would open their doors to them.

However, Suella Braverman drew distinction between Sudanese and Ukrainian fleeing conflict, stating on 26 April that the government has no current plans to introduce safe routes into the country for refugees fleeing the conflict in Sudan as it did for the Ukrainians last year. When asked she said that “The Home Office is monitoring the situation closely”. The statement added that the UK current settlement scheme that helped those fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine is not yet to be implemented in relation to the Sudanese conflict.