UNHCR seeks $63 million to repatriate refugees to South Sudan
12 February, 2008
GENEVA (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency today launched an appeal for US$63 million to fund its 2008 operations in Southern Sudan, including organising the voluntary return and reintegration of 80,000 Sudanese refugees now in neighbouring countries.
UNHCR said funds raised in the supplementary appeal would ensure continuing support for the repatriation process, which has seen the return home of more than 169,000 Sudanese refugees and an estimated 1.9 million internally displaced Sudanese since a comprehensive peace agreement in January 2005 ended the long-running civil war. Some 260,000 Sudanese refugees remain outside Sudan's borders.
"If the pace of return is not adequately supported, the challenges for sustainable reintegration may become even greater," said Marjon Kamara, director of UNHCR's Africa bureau.
UNHCR plans to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of 45,000 Sudanese refugees from Uganda, 17,000 from Kenya, 16,000 from Ethiopia and 2,000 from Egypt. Priority will be given to returnees from Ethiopia so voluntary repatriation can be completed during 2008.
In addition, where UNHCR has a presence it will assist with the return home of internally displaced people (IDPs) if requested.
UNHCR, working in coordination with the government, UN agencies and other partners, plans to continue community-based reintegration projects for both refugees and IDPs returning to areas lacking basic services. In major IDP sites in the capital, Khartoum, UNHCR will continue to monitor the protection situation.
The areas of return still suffer from a lack of basic services, particularly in health and education, and weak, though improving, economic activity. If these problems are not addressed, returning refugees could flow into crowded urban areas or even go back to their countries of asylum.
Despite the progress since the peace agreement, UNHCR still faces challenges moving people because of continued insecurity in parts of South Sudan and a lack of roads, compounded by a rainy season lasting from May to November.