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Sudanese refugees depart Iraq for resettlement

Briefing notes

Sudanese refugees depart Iraq for resettlement

16 December 2008 Also available in:

A group of 97 Sudanese refugees, mainly from Darfur, who have been stranded in a makeshift camp in the desert in Iraq since 2005, left this morning for Amman, Jordan, from where they are scheduled to fly this evening to Romania. In Romania they will be housed in a new Emergency Transit Centre in Timosoara while they wait for their resettlement applications to be processed. UNHCR would like to thank the governments of Jordan and Romania for their cooperation in making this movement possible.

The group, which is currently in Jordan, is scheduled to depart tonight on a special flight from Marka Airport in Amman to Romania, accompanied by UNHCR staff. It will be followed shortly by another 42 Sudanese refugees who are expected to leave Iraq next month.

The group fled Sudan in the late 1980s and since their departure from Sudan conditions in Darfur have seriously deteriorated. The refugees have had little or no contact with their families in Sudan. They fear returning to their country, where they would find themselves in a situation of internal displacement.

The refugees suffered abuse, blackmail, eviction and assaults by militias following the 2003 downfall of the Saddam Hussein regime. A total of 17 Sudanese were killed between December 2004 and February 2005. Because of this targeting by the insurgent groups, the refugees tried to flee Iraq but were not successful. They became stranded in the K-70 camp outside Al Rutbah town, in the Al Anbar desert, some 75 km east of the Jordan/Iraq border. Here they were subject to severe weather conditions and harassment by militias. UNHCR has delivered humanitarian aid to the group, which includes women and children, while trying to find a durable solution for them.