October 26, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – A delegation of Sudanese refugees in Chad visited their home villages in Darfur region to see if the situation is good enough to return permanently from exile.
In May 2017, Chad, which hosts over 300,000 Sudanese refugees, Sudan and the refugee agency UNHCR signed an agreement to facilitate the voluntary return of refugees residing in eastern Sudan areas near the joint border.
“Twenty-five Sudanese refugee leaders are returning to their home villages for the first time this week on go-and-see visits organised by UNHCR and its government counterparts in Chad and Sudan,” the UNHCR said in a statement released on 26 October.
The UN agency said this first official organised visit is a “positive step” to prepare the Sudanese refugees to return home.
“These visits are vital for refugees to see the situation in their villages so that they make informed choices about returning”, said Elizabeth Tan, UNHCR’s Deputy Representative in Sudan.
She added that UNHCR in Sudan and Chad will continue to have a dialogue with Sudanese refugees and local states in Darfur, in coordination with Sudan’s Commission for Refugees (COR), to help design supports for refugees interested in returning.
“The way forward requires that we assess and plan needs with refugees. The process must be sustainable and give people a real chance to re-establish their lives in Darfur in safe conditions that enable them to plan for their futures,”
Last week, the Commissioner for Voluntary Return and Reconstruction in Darfur Taj Eddin Ibrahim, who received the delegation of the Darfurian refugees in the border town of Aska, said the visiting refugees will be divided into three committees to visit the three return areas of the western, central and northern Darfur states.
He further told the official SUNA that the government is committed to providing the necessary means of return, including the provision of necessary services and livelihoods.
However, the rebel Sudan Liberation Forces (SLF) called on the Chadian government and the UNHCR to stop the voluntary return of refugees due to the lack of suitable conditions including security and compensations.
The Sudan Liberation Forces (SLF) appeals to the Chadian government and High Commissioner for Refugees to stop implementing the agenda of the Sudanese regime, which aims at deporting Sudanese refugees from the Chadian territory to Sudan without paying the internationally recognized peace bill.
The SLF Spokesperson Salah Abdel Mola called on the Chadian government and the international community to put the needed pressure on Khartoum government to achieve peace, security and stability in Sudan.
He called to create a platform for a just and comprehensive peace.
Further, he called to recruit the sons of these displaced and the refugees in the national army, police and security services to protect their relatives.
The SFF is a gathering of several rebel factions led by Taher Hajer who was close from the Chadian President Idriss Deby but declined to his call to sign a peace agreement with Khartoum and join the national dialogue proces