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Sudan demands additional UN funds for refugees

August 15 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Eritreans seeking safe-passage to Sudan (UNHCR)
Eritreans seeking safe-passage to Sudan (UNHCR)

The Sudanese government has demanded that the United Nations provide adequate funds to cover the expenses of hundreds of thousands of refugees hosted by the country.

Idris Suleiman, Minister of International Cooperation of the new National Reconciliation Government of Sudan, met with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) representative for Sudan, Noriko Yoshida on Monday.

During the meeting the Sudanese minister discussed with the UN official “the need to provide the necessary budget from the international community to cover the requirements of the refugees in Sudan”.

He talked about the importance to provide training for the refugees and raise their awareness as wells as improving camps environment and providing integrated social services to them, saying the refugees pose further pressure on existing resources.

For her part, Yoshida underscored the need to count and register the foreigners residing in Sudan.

Refugees and asylum seekers

In May, Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir claimed that Sudan is hosting about two million refugees and asylum seekers. According to the UNHCR, Sudan hosts more than 417,000 South Sudanese refugees, 110,000 Eritrean refugees and more than 100,000 Syrian refugees.

Suleiman also met with the chair of the mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Sudan, Mario Leto Malanka, to discuss the progress in addressing migration issues in Sudan.

Malanka pointed out that his mission receives funds from donor countries to support and implement development projects to serve refugees in the host countries. He hailed the cooperation of the Sudanese government in providing shelter, food and social services to migrants.

Transit country

According to the UNHCR, Sudan is one of the main transit countries of eastern Africans who want to travel to Europe by sea.

Funding by the European Commission to the Sudanese government earlier this year, to be implemented under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, contains a development aid package of €155 million. The EU said it would provide about €100 million (an estimated $110 million) to address irregular migration and improve living conditions of refugees and host communities in eastern Sudan. €40 million (about $42.5 million) from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa is earmarked for a programme to better manage migration in the region.

Large-scale migration to Europe has precipitated a paradigm shift in relations between the EU and the government of Sudan, the activist Enough Project reported in April. Sudanese activists claim that providing such funds to Khartoum are futile. They say that the aid package is used to tighten the grip by the security apparatus on the population.

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