Cablegate: Embassy Referral for Hashim Mohamed Zakaria
DE RUEHAR #0477/01 0951216
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041216Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ACCRA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6376
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0034
UNCLAS ACCRA 000477
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF GH SU
SUBJECT: EMBASSY REFERRAL FOR HASHIM MOHAMED ZAKARIA
1. (SBU) Summary: Embassy Accra hereby refers Hashim Mohamed
Zakaria, a citizen of Sudan of Massalit ethnicity, born November 25,
1977, in Dofor Gadida, Darfur, Sudan, for refugee processing.
Zakaria has provided convincing evidence to us that he fled Sudan
due to well-founded fear of persecution as a result of the ongoing
killing campaign carried out by the Janjaweed, based on race and
ethnicity. Sudanese government and Janjaweed forces attacked
Zakaria's village, killed both his parents, his brother and his
uncle. After spending 13 months in Kerenik Internally Displaced
Persons' (IDP) Camp, which suffered numerous Janjaweed incursions,
Zakaria fled Sudan on May 5, 2005. Failing to receive protection in
Chad, Cameroon, Togo and Benin, he arrived in Ghana in October 2005
and registered with UNHCR. The Ghana Refugee Board denied his
asylum claim in February 2008 (he was one of 12 Sudanese Darfuri
denied). Although he was officially denied for failing to establish
a need of international protection, he was told by GRB Secretary
Bawumia he was denied because UNHCR lacked the budget to assist him.
UNHCR Ghana, an observing member of the GRB, has not taken action
to ensure appropriate protection. Given the recent deportations of
sixteen Liberian refugees and an Iraqi asylum seeker, Post has
determined that resettlement consideration is appropriate and
necessary. End summary.
2. (SBU) This Embassy referral is for:
Hashim Mohamed Zakaria, DPOB: 25 NOV 1977, Dofor Gadida, Darfur,
3. (SBU) Zakaria was a university stuent in Khartoum in 2002. In
April 2002, his brother notified him that the Janjaweed had killed
their parents as they grazed their cattle. He was later dismissed
from university, and returned to live in Dofor Gadida.
4. (SBU) At about 6:00a.m. on December 28, 2003, Sudanese
government forces and Janjaweed attacked Dofor Gadida, Zakaria's
village. Zakaria and his family members scattered and fled. Zakaria
walked 2.5 hours to Krenik, the nearest camp for displaced persons.
Upon arrival, the family reunited but realized that some members
5. (SBU) When they heard the attack was over, Zakaria and his
family returned to Dofor Gadida. There they found the dead and
dismembered bodies of Zakaria's elder brother, Mahmoud, and his
uncle, Abu Bakr Zakaria, among others.
6. (SBU) Zakaria and his family buried the bodies and returned to
Krenik IDP camp, where they remained for 13 months. Due to repeated
Janjaweed attacks on Krenik IDP camp, Zakaria grew more fearful and
was convinced that if he stayed, he would be killed. He fled on May
7. (SBU) On May 5, 2005 Zakaria crossed the border into Chad.
Because Chad was not secure, Zakaria decided not to stay there and
spent five days crossing the country before passing into Cameroon at
Kousseri. He proceeded directly to Nigeria that same day, intending
to stay. However, he learned that there are conflicts between
Christians and Muslims there, and decided to leave after 3 days. On
May 14, 2005 Zakaria crossed into Benin and went straight across the
country to Togo.
8. (SBU) In Togo, the authorities arrested Zakaria because he had
no travel documents. Despite his explanation that he was fleeing
war, they detained him. He was held at a police station in Kpalime
for two months and seven days. During this time the authorities
launched an investigation into his case, eventually deciding that he
was innocent. They returned Zakaria to the border with Benin.
9. (SBU) In Azove, Benin, the Benin authorities asked for
Zakaria's travel documents, and arrested him when he was unable to
produce them. He was detained in Azove for two months and five
days, then transferred to Malanville. Zakaria became ill with
malaria while in Malanville, and he received no medical care. After
25 days, the Benin officials deemed Zakaria innocent and released
him. He made his way south to Cotonou and found a direct bus to
Ghana. He crossed through Togo and entered Ghana on Oct. 20, 2005.
EXISTENCE IN GHANA
10. (SBU) On October 25, 2005, Zakaria registered with UNHCR
(registration number 10061401). UNHCR advised him to apply for
refugee status with the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB). Zakaria followed
their advice and regularly checked back with UNHCR to see if they
had received any word from GRB. On May 15, 2007, UNHCR
congratulated Zakaria, telling him that GRB was granting him refugee
status and sending him to GRB to pick up his acceptance letter.
However, GRB officials told him that the decision had not yet been
made and sent him back to UNHCR.
11. (SBU) On December 22, 2007, Zakaria met with Louis at GRB, who
told him that his refugee status had been granted, but the GRB
secretary Abdulai Bawumia was busy due to the Cup of African Nations
soccer tournament (CAN, hosted by Ghana in January 2008). Louis
told Zakaria that his acceptance letter would not be signed until
after CAN 2008.
12. (SBU) On January 12, 2008, Zakaria returned to GRB. He was
told to return on Feb. 28, 2008. When he returned on Feb. 28, GRB
officials gave Zakaria a rejection letter. He was confused because
they had previously told him verbally that his refugee status had
been granted. GRB Secretary Abdulai Bawumia told him that his case
was not convincing and that UNHCR had no budget to assist Zakaria,
therefore GRB had to turn him down. Zakaria has since appealed the
GRB's decision. [Note: The interpreter for our interview, Abdul
Kadr, was recommended by UNHCR. He also occasionally works as an
interpreter for the GRB, and attended Zakaria's Feb. 28 meeting. He
confirmed that Zakaria's account of that meeting is truthful.]
13. (SBU) Since arriving in Ghana, Zakaria has been surviving
through petty trading, but does not earn enough for lodging. He
sleeps on the veranda of a mosque. He speaks a little English, but
continues to have communication problems in Ghana.
14. (SBU) Zakaria believes he cannot return to Sudan without
endangering his life. The war and human rights abuses continue
15. (SBU) Zakaria has provided convincing evidence to us that he
fled Sudan because he had a well-founded fear of persecution as a
result of the ongoing killing campaign carried out by the Janjaweed,
based on race and ethnicity. Due to his Massalit ethnicity, he
would be a target there. In addition, Ghana is not a viable country
of asylum for Zakaria, as evidenced by the reasoning of the GRB in
turning down his application for refugee status. Resettlement to
the U.S. would provide legal protection and appears the most viable