The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has raised serious concerns about disturbances in the El Waral camp for South Sudanese refugees in White Nile state last week.
El Waral camp, with more than 50,000 South Sudanese, is the largest refugee camp in White Nile state.
On Tuesday, the camp’s administrative area burnt down, warehouses were plundered, and other violent acts were reported. The incident reportedly started with rumours that a refugee youth had died in police custody, UNHCR in Sudan says in a press statement today.
An investigation is currently underway by Sudanese authorities to identify those responsible.
Noriko Yoshida, UNHCR’s Representative in Sudan, visited the camp with the federal Minister of Interior Affairs and the Commissioner for Refugees on Friday.
“UNHCR appeals for calm. Refugees, like everyone else, are subject to obey the law. The use of violence can never be condoned,” she stated. “We extend our deepest sympathies to innocent victims caught up in the disturbance and their families.
“South Sudanese refugees are themselves victims of conflicts, and violence, seeking safety in Sudan,’’ she added, and thanked the Sudanese government for helping to restore order and calm in the camp.
UNHCR called on the refugees in El Waral camp to resort to appropriate and legal channels to express their concerns.
The UN Refugee Agency regrets the unfortunate incident as refugees and host communities have been living together harmoniously. It is supporting Sudan in exercising its primary responsibility for refugee protection.
“Together we are discussing measures to help ensure a safe and peaceful environment for everyone, and in order to avoid similar incidents in the future,” Yoshida said.