UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, paid his first official visit as High Commissioner to Sudan this week, at a time when refugees continue to flee the brutal conflict in South Sudan. He called on the international community to recognize Sudan’s long-standing tradition of hosting refugees and asked for more support for the country.
“For decades, Sudan has kept its doors open to people fleeing war, hunger and hardship. I saw this myself when I worked there as a UNHCR field officer nearly 30 years ago and this continues today as South Sudanese refugees flee the horrors of war,” UNHCR’s Grandi said on Wednesday while wrapping-up his visit to Sudan.
Sudan is one of the major hosting countries for refugees fleeing the deadly conflict in South Sudan. These refugees are able to benefit from the government‘s extension of certain freedoms, including to work and move, and also receive generous support from host communities.
The UN Refugee Chief visited Al-Nimir refugee camp in East Darfur during his visit, hosting over 5,000 South Sudanese refugees who arrived at the camp in April, and praised the solidarity of the local Sudanese hosts. “Host communities are generously sharing all available resources, but they are very visibly under immense pressure with already scarce resources.”
Grandi said this exceptional generosity needed to be acknowledged and supported. “Sudan’s generosity must be matched with international solidarity and resources. Much more donor support is required – and urgently – so that we can help the hundreds of thousands of refugees in the country and the communities that are hosting them.”
The UN refugee chief also called once again on the international community to do much more to end the fighting in South Sudan, which is causing the world’s fastest growing forced displacement tragedy, without an immediate end in sight. “Parties to the conflict, regional states and the international community need to put an end to this tragedy,” he said.
High Commissioner Grandi met Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and welcomed the President‘s assurances that Sudan will continue providing safety to those fleeing conflict and persecution – including those who arrive from South Sudan, and other countries in the region.
Sudan has hosted over 416,000 South Sudanese refugees since 2013 – including some 170,000 new arrivals in 2017, making it one of the largest refugee receiving countries in the region. Hundreds of thousands of other South Sudanese who stayed in Sudan following the separation of the two countries are also in need of humanitarian assistance. Sudan also continues to host refugees from Eritrea, Syria, Yemen, Chad and other countries.
Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).