In East Darfur, UN refugee chief urges international support for Sudan

The United Nations refugee chief has called for international solidarity and resources to aid Sudan, which is one of the major hosting countries for refugees fleeing the conflict in South Sudan.

“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,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said yesterday wrapping up his first visit as the head of UNHCR to Sudan.

The UN refugee chief also reiterated his call 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.

During the visit this week, Mr. Grandi met with South Sudanese refugees and their local hosts at the Al-Nimir refugee camp in East Darfur, Sudan.

“My coming here has one reason – just as I did in Uganda, Ethiopia and from Juba itself, to appeal to the leadership of South Sudan, to the opposition of South Sudan, to the States in the region and to the international community at large, to inject some sense of urgency in the quest of peace in South Sudan itself,” Mr. Grandi said.

The High Commissioners met with Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir, and, according to a UNHCR press release, 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, UNHCR reported.

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.

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