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Refugees in Chad seek return to Darfur

December 7 - 2020 WADI FIRA, CHAD
A young women from Darfur who fled to Kartafa Chad in July 2020 (UNHCR Aristophane Ngargoune)
A young women from Darfur who fled to Kartafa Chad in July 2020 (UNHCR Aristophane Ngargoune)

Darfuri refugees in Wadi Fira in eastern Chad seek to return voluntarily if they will get individual and collective compensation, and if the villages, that were destroyed or damaged during the civil war that broke out in Darfur in 2003, will be rebuild.

Refugee leaders in the Mile, Kounongou, and Um Nabag refugee camps in the Wadi Fira region stated that they are waiting for the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement protocols regarding refugees and displaced people. They also said they were expecting an inclusive conference to be held to determine priorities.

The refugee leaders said this during their meeting with representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Darfur, the Commission for Voluntary Return and Resettlement, and nine locality directors from West and North Darfur.

The participants discussed the situation in Darfur, especially the farming season and the various committees working to protect it from herders destroying crops with their cattle.

The refugees were asked to visit their areas of origin to see the situation for themselves. Last week, the head of the Darfur office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that conditions in Sudan have improved overall, including Darfur.

Badawi Bahreldin, protection officer at the Sudanese Refugee Commission in Darfur and head of the delegation, said that this visit is different from previous visits,  because there is a new government in Sudan now, which is improving security in Darfur and seeks to protect the agricultural season. The delegation wants to properly arrange voluntary returns and listen to the concerns of the refugees.

The UNHCR representative confirmed that there are already procedures for voluntary return. These include amounts of money paid to a refugee before travelling to Darfur and upon arrival.

According to UNHCR, Chad currently hosts 476,000 refugees and asylum seekers, including some 365 000 from Sudan.

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