Plea to let refugees remain

A coalition of Jewish groups has lobbied the Home Office over the deportation of Darfuri refugees to Khartoum, despite evidence that increasing numbers are being arrested and tortured.

In a letter to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, representatives protested at “this apparent reversal of policy... The Jewish community is mindful of the fateful consequences of Britain’s refugee policy during the Third Reich, when so many facing certain death were turned away. However we also remember the example of the Kindertransport, which saved thousands of lives and remains a model of humanitarianism.”

Signatories were from the Board of Deputies, the Masorti, Reform and Liberal movements, the Union of Jewish Students, the Zionist Youth Council, the Pears Foundation, the Jewish Council for Racial Equality and human rights group ReneCassin.

Expressing disquiet at the government’s stance, Board president Henry Grunwald urged: “This is not a time to turn our backs on those whose lives are at risk.”

    Last updated: 11:07am, July 10 2008