Statement on the case of Mende Nazer

25 October 2002

The UK asylum case of Mende Nazer draws serious attention both to the issue
of slavery in Sudan and to the security of those in Sudan who draw attention to
this abuse.

Slavery constitutes a grave violation of human rights. Despite the Sudan Government's denial of slavery in the country, its existence is an established
fact, confirmed by Anti-Slavery International's research and most recently by
the International Eminent Persons Group, as well as the United Nations and
other bodies.

The recently reported UK Home Office statement that Mende Nazer would not be vulnerable to reprisals from the Sudan Government because it did not condone slavery fails to understand the realities of the situation. In Sudan, those who raise the issue of slavery face harassment and imprisonment. As recently as January 2002 a Sudanese journalist was arrested for publishing an article on slavery, despite the information already being in the public domain and well known to the authorities.

Anti-Slavery International believes that should Mende Nazer be sent back to Sudan, she would be at risk of reprisals from the Government. Her request for asylum should be granted to provide the protection from persecution.