UNHCR report: Refugees in Sudan most worried about violence, health and food

Security from violence, affordable healthcare and enough food are the main concerns for refugees from different nationalities and ages in Sudan, the UNHCR’s report ‘Being a refugee in Sudan’ shows.


Security from violence, affordable healthcare and enough food are the main concerns for refugees from different nationalities and ages in Sudan, the UNHCR report ‘Being a refugee in Sudan’ shows.

The Participatory Assessment Report is the result of nearly 600 events and interviews UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and partners undertook across Sudan with over 6,000 participants. “Refugees themselves are the experts on what it feels like being a refugee in Sudan”, says UNHCR Representative Axel Bisschop. “These consultations with women, men, boys and girls help us, our partners and the authorities understand their concerns better and provide more efficient support.”

Physical security surfaced as a top concern in different regions. Refugees and asylum-seekers reported that some locals would steal from them or exploit them as cheap or unpaid labour. Physical and sexual violence remained a concern, they complained in focus group discussions. At the time of the consultations, impunity for crimes committed against refugees was a major issue especially in Darfur.

Health was another recurring theme. Some refugees had struggled to get medical attention, others found the needed medications or visiting a doctor unaffordable. This was a problem also affecting pregnant women. UNHCR’s consultations revealed that many refugee children did not attend school and were rather occupied trying to earn some money to buy food and basic necessities to help their families.

The 86-page report covers over 12 ethnic groups in 13 states. It features solutions proposed by refugees – from more police patrols to patient-friendly opening hours of clinics. They recommend that many problems could be addressed by letting them work. Refugee men and women across Sudan want to sustain themselves, and provide for their families.

The government of Sudan has already made positive pledges at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva in December 2019. These pledges include inclusion of refugees in the national health and education systems as well as providing them access to the labour market. UNHCR looks forward to supporting the government on this path and calls on development agencies and donors to boost their engagement for education, health and livelihoods for refugees in Sudan.

“The whole purpose of the participatory assessment is to help us, the authorities and partners to strengthen the response to the worrying issues raised”, concludes Axel Bisschop.

Being a refugee in Sudan – 2019 Participatory Assessment Report’ is available here.

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