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UN agency proposes to integrate Sudanese refugees with Chadian communities

Sudanese returnee welcomed by his relatives after his arrival to Tina in North Darfur from refugees camps in Chad on 16 April 2018 (UNHCR Photo)
May 25, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - A United Nations agency has called to integrate Sudanese refugees in Chad within the local community as a result to their refusal to regain Darfur region 15-year after the beginning of the conflict.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there are 330 439 Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad.

Despite the signing in May 2017, of a tripartite agreement between Chad Sudan and UNHCR for the voluntary repatriation of refugees only "53 Sudanese refugees returned to Darfur; and other convoys are in progress".

"The prospects for return remain limited for the majority of Sudanese refugees," said OCHA in an overview of the humanitarian situation Eastern Chad released in the French language.

The report pointed to the drastic lack of funds from donors who are concerned by new humanitarian crises in other parts of the world, while Darfur is no longer one the headlines of the media, adding "In this context, it is necessary to strengthen their integration within local communities" OCHA concluded.

The integration of the Sudanese refugees means giving them the land to cultivate and to exercise economic activities, but also provides the settlement with the needed infrastructures and services.

It is also not clear if Chad and Sudan will accept such measure.

In January 2018, Sudan, Chad and the United Nations signed an agreement for the repatriation of 20,000 Sudanese refugees from Chad to Darfur region during this year.

However, on 16 April 16, the UNHCR and Sudan’s Commissioner of Refugees Hamad El-Gizouli have welcomed in Tina, North Darfur, the return of 53 Sudanese refugees from Chad.

UN reports say the security situation in Darfur has largely improved but stress that the lack of infrastructures and services prevent the return of refugees and displaced persons to their areas of origin.

(ST)