U.S. extends immigration protections for Sudanese refugees

The United States will extend immigration protections for Sudanese
refugees as news of atrocities continues to pour out of a civil war that
shows no sign of slowing down.

The Department of Homeland
Security on Friday announced it would continue offering the Temporary
Protected Status for Sudan for 18 months longer than planned. 

Under
protected status people can legally live and work in the U.S. if they
cannot return to their home countries for a variety of reasons, such as
natural disasters or war. The status for Sudan was set to expire on Oct.
20, but will now last through April 19, 2025.

Homeland Security
estimated the program benefits about 1,200 Sudanese, but an additional
2,750 could be eligible under the re-designation.

Sudan has been in a state of worsening civil war
since fighting broke out on April 15 between the Sudanese Army and the
Rapid Support Forces paramilitary, derailing a Western-brokered
transition to democracy after decades of military and authoritarian
rule. 

“Since the military takeover of its government and the
recent violent clashes, Sudan has experienced political instability and
ongoing conflict that has resulted in a humanitarian crisis,” Homeland
Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a press release. “Under
this extension and redesignation, we will continue to offer safety and
protection to Sudanese nationals until conditions in their home country
improve.”   

More than 3.4 million people have been displaced within Sudan, while another 1 million have fled the country, according to United Nations estimates,
threatening stability in the region. UN agencies have estimated 4,000
people have been killed in the conflict, but the actual death toll is
likely far higher.

While both sides have been widely condemned for
war crimes, sexual assaults and ethnic violence, human rights
organizations and the United Nations have this week raised the alarm
about atrocities committed by the RSF.

Human Rights Watch on
Thursday condemned the paramilitary for actions in its stronghold of
Darfur, a region with a history of genocide and ethnic violence. The
organization accused the forces and its allies of widespread rapes.

CNN on Tuesday published an investigative report of mass murder of refugees in El Geneina, a city of about 200,000 people in West Darfur.

“The
Rapid Support Forces and allied militias appear responsible for a
staggering number of rapes and other war crimes during their attack on
El Geneina,” Belkis Wille, associate crisis and conflict director at Human Rights Watch, said in a blog post.
“The UN Security Council should show those responsible for abuses that
the world is watching by taking urgent steps to bring an end to these
atrocities.”

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller on
Thursday condemned indiscriminate shelling carried out by the army and
paramilitary that was killing civilians in Nyala, a city of about a
half-million people in South Darfur.

“Civilians should not pay the
ultimate price for the warring parties’ unconscionable actions,” Miller
said in a statement. “Every day this senseless conflict continues, more
innocent civilians are killed, wounded, and left without homes, food,
or livelihoods.”