This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is calling for increased support for Sudan with the launch of a new funding appeal that seeks US$477 million to help over 900,000 refugees in the country together with nearly a quarter million of their Sudanese hosts in the coming year.
The Sudan Refugee Response Plan, launched in Khartoum this morning, foresees humanitarian activities by UNHCR with over 30 other partners.
Sudan has a long history of hosting refugees and asylum seekers but also struggles with its own internal displacement, while facing a severe economic crisis. Our call comes at a time when the country is going through a historical political transition, and requires international solidarity to achieve peace and stability.
The largest group of refugees hosted in Sudan are South Sudanese with some 840,000 seeking shelter in the country since 2013. Resources are also needed for other refugees from nine countries who have sought safety from violence and persecution.
In the meantime, Sudan also continues to receive new refugees. In Darfur, an ongoing influx of CAR refugees into remote parts of South and Central Darfur States has seen the number of refugees swell from just over 5,000 to nearly 17,000 in three months since September 2019.
Refugees in Sudan live in over 130 locations across the country’s 18 States. About 70 per cent live outside of camps in villages, towns and settlements. The majority of refugees and asylum-seekers in Sudan face high levels of poverty, limited access to livelihood opportunities, and are hosted in some of the poorest regions of the country, where host communities are also struggling.
While refugees often benefit from generous support provided by host communities, the ongoing economic crisis in Sudan has exacerbated the situation as local resources remain scarce.
UNHCR is also part of inter-agency humanitarian efforts to assist some 1.9 million internally displaced people inside Sudan, leading on protection and working on displaced peoples’ rights, emergency shelter and relief distributions. Since last year, the transitional government has facilitated the delivery of aid to areas which were out of reach to humanitarians previously including in parts of South Kordofan and Blue Nile and Darfur’s Jebel Marra.
Years of conflict and unrest have also displaced more than 600,000 Sudanese as refugees in neighbouring countries – including over 300,000 refugees from Darfur in in eastern Chad. Since a Tripartite Agreement between the Government of Sudan, Chad and UNHCR signed in May 2017, nearly 4,000 Sudanese refugees have chosen to return home. More are expected to return this year.
In 2019, UNHCR operation in Sudan remained one of the most under resourced with only 32 per cent funds being available out of the needed US$269 million.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).