Central African Republic: Agreement reached on resumption of repatriation to South Sudan
The Central African Republic (CAR) recently gave its agreement for UNHCR to use an air charter company to resume our voluntary repatriation operation to South Sudan. Thanks to this agreement, we plan to resume the operation for Sudanese refugees in Mboki camp, in the far south-east of CAR, to Sudan in a few weeks.
Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for South Sudan in January 2005, refugees in CAR have expressed a strong desire to return home. Many have been in exile for a decade or more. Refugees will be flown from Mboki camp, returning primarily to the Tambura and Yambio areas in South Sudan's Western Equatoria region. We expect to conclude the repatriation operation from CAR by August 2007. The operation, which had been launched in February 2006, had to be suspended in April due to the official closure of the border between CAR and Sudan following unrest in the region. From February to April, UNHCR assisted in the repatriation of 2,115 refugees from CAR to South Sudan. With the resumption of the operation, we hope to repatriate up to 450 refugees a week. At the peak of the Sudanese influxes to CAR in the early 1990s, some 36,000 Sudanese refugees were living in Mboki.
Since December 2005, UNHCR has assisted 13,000 Sudanese refugees to go home from CAR, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Some 350,000 Sudanese refugees still remain in neighbouring countries. There are also 4 million internally displaced persons in Sudan itself.