Sudanese refugees in Chad refuse voluntary return

Sudan’s and Chad’s refugees’ commissioners claim in a meeting that refugees from Darfur are willing to return home, and look to developing the voluntary return process.

The Sudan, Chad and the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees held a joint meeting in Khartoum to discuss the return of Sudanese refugees residing in twelve camps in eastern Chad. Babiker Ahmad Digna, the State Minister of Interior, confirmed his government's commitment to achieve sustainable voluntary repatriation of Sudanese refugees in Chad. “It’s the best solution to their problems.”

During the meeting, the minister stressed the importance of signing a tripartite agreement for the development of the legal framework for the voluntary return of Sudanese and Chadian refugees to their homes.

On his part, the Refugees’ Commissioner confirmed that there are more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad. He said that a number of the Sudanese refugees in Chad have expressed willingness to voluntarily return to the country.

The Sudanese refugees in the camps in eastern Chad refused the government’ claims on voluntary repatriation and described the situation in Darfur as “more dangerous than when they fled to Chad”.

Yassin Yahya, an activist in camp Gaga, told Radio Dabanga that the dream of returning home still entices all refugees, but the serious conditions prevailing now in Darfur cannot allow this. He wondered “where we will stay when we go back”.

Yassin denied that the refugees in the camps in eastern Chad have asked any entity to return them home and added that if this happens, it will be a forced return.