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Sudan, Chad and UN sign agreements on refugee voluntary return

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Women from Darfur line up to receive their monthly ration in the Djabal camp, in eastern Chad (WFP Photo)
June 2, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan, Chad and the United Nations Wednesday in Khartoum have signed three agreements for the voluntary return of refugees from both countries.

More than 350,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur region are officially registered in Chad and additional 650,000 unregistered. Since 2015 there were efforts to return them to their original villages.

According to the communiqué issued by the three parties on Wednesday, the signing of the “agreements alone does not mean that the assisted return movements will begin tomorrow”.

“There is still work to be done by the Tripartite Commissions, which will oversee the implementation of the Agreements, in order to ensure that returns occur in conditions of safety and dignity as well as ensuring that such returns are lasting” read the communiqué.

It points out that the formalisation of the framework for repatriation “has been informed by the freely expressed wishes of those who have returned, or who have expressed the wish to be assisted to return”.

The three parties noted there have been “sizeable spontaneous returns of Sudanese refugees from the camps in Chad as well as firm expressions of the intention to return home on the part of Chadian refugees living in the Sudan”.

They pointed out that the security situation has “generally improved for the better in most potential areas of return” in Darfur region.

“The Parties will ensure that those refugees who decide to return do so based on up to date and accurate information on the prevailing conditions in intended areas of return,” added the communiqué.

The parties said they “will work closely to mobilise necessary resources to ensure that the returns are both dignified and lasting”, pointing the “two governments and peoples look forward to welcoming back their citizens and fellow compatriots.”

The Sudanese army has been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

(ST)

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