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Sudan agrees to give refugee status to South Sudanese

September 1, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan on Thursday decided to treat South Sudanese that fled the conflict in their country as refugees, enabling United Nations to provide assistance and raise funds for aid operations.

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South Sudanese refugees perform a traditional dance as President Omer Hassan al-Bashir addresses a crowd a rally held in Ed Daein, East Darfur, April 5, 2016. April 5, 2016. (Photo Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

In December 2013, Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir decided to treat South Sudanese refugees as citizens and refused establishing refugee camps for them, saying they can live and work all over Sudan.

On Thursday, United Nations Refugees Agency (UNHCR) and Sudan’ Refugees Commission signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide needed services to South Sudanese refugees in East Darfur, South and West Kordofan , White Nile and Khartoum states.

UNHCR deputy representative Angela Li Rosi signed for the UN Refugee Agency and Sudan’s Commissioner of Refugees Hamad al-Gazli signed for the government of Sudan.

The State Minister at the Ministry of Interior, Babikir Digna, pointed that the MoU would enable hosting the refugees coming from South Sudan and providing better services for them.

Sudan’s Commissioner of Refugees Hamad al-Gizuali noted that the agreement includes South Sudanese refugees in East, South and West Darfur, South Kordofan and White states.

“We will classify and register South Sudan refugees and establish camps for them in coordination with UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR),” says al-Gizuali.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Thursday reported in its weekly bulletin that on 28 August, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) disclosed that the Sudanese authorities agreed to consider South Sudanese as refugees.

Al-Gozuali pointed that 500,000 South Sudanese have arrived recently in Sudan and they mainly live in Blue Nile, Eat Darfur, West and South Kordofan states.

UNHCR deputy representative Angela Li Rosi expressed gratitude for Sudan’s government efforts to provide assistance to South Sudanese refugees all over Sudan, saying that UNHCR closely cooperates with Sudan for the past 50 years.

Since 2014, United Nations has been asking to consider South Sudanese as refugees and to establish refugees camps for them saying such moves will enable them to launch calls to fund the humanitarian assistance but President al-Bashir declined the request..

According to UNHCR, more than 244,000 South Sudanese have sought safety and assistance in various parts of Sudan since the outbreak of the conflict in South Sudan in December 2013. This includes about 90,000 refugees who arrived in 2016. East Darfur State hosts about 60 per cent of all South Sudanese refugee arrivals in 2016.

(ST)