Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir has instructed the acceleration of work on the voluntary repatriation of Sudanese refugees in Chad and the return of Chadian refugees in Sudan.
On Tuesday, Interior Minister Babikir Digna reported after a meeting with Al Bashir in his office at the Republican Palace that the meeting discussed the situation of the country's refugees abroad, the process of electronic registration,and providing a national number to each of them.
The minister said that the president stressed the need to prepare sites for the return of the refugees returning from Chad in cooperation with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the government of Chad so as to speed up the implementation of the return of the Sudanese to their homes in Darfur.
4,000 Chadian refugees return
Last month, the UNHCR reported that more than 4,000 Chadian refugees in Central Darfur have started their voluntary return home after more than ten years in a Darfur refugee camp.
A first group of approximately 301 Chadians have left Um Shalaya camp in Central Darfur for Moudeina in the Sila region of eastern Chad.
The refugee agency and the governments of Sudan and Chad provided transport and additional assistance to the refugees.
The UNHCR expected that by the end of 2017, some 1,000 refugees will have returned to Moudeina and the agency plans to return as many as 4,000 refugees to other sites in Chadin 2018. The returnees will receive 'return packages' to help them re-establish their homes and livelihoods.
Chad is itself an important refugee host country with over 300,000 people from Darfur living in camps in the east of the country.
In October 25 Sudanese refugee leaders returned to their home villages for the first time this week on go-and-see visits organised by UNHCR. After more than a decade in exile, Sudanese refugees begin to look more seriously at returning to Darfur. In Chad the refugees face dwindling humanitarian support, with cuts to food rations, and limited livelihood opportunities and access to land. There are also concerns about the language of instruction for their children’s education.