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Acting High Commissioner to highlight Sudan needs

Briefing notes

Acting High Commissioner to highlight Sudan needs

8 April 2005

Acting High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin arrives in Oslo on Sunday to attend next week's donor conference for Sudan before travelling to the region the following week to get a first-hand look at UNHCR's operations for refugees and displaced people from Darfur.

Ms. Chamberlin will brief donors attending the Oslo conference Monday and Tuesday on UNHCR's urgent funding needs. We are seeking $60 million for our return and reintegration programme in south Sudan, but so far have received less than $5 million. UNHCR and its partners are currently working hard to lay the groundwork for the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of refugees and millions of internally displaced people in south Sudan. Southern Sudan has been devastated by more than two decades of conflict and requires immediate and large-scale international assistance to begin rebuilding. The huge return operation could begin as early as September, following the rainy season Everything must be in place by then to ensure the returnees have at least the minimal infrastructure - schools, health clinics, water, shelter, sanitation and so on - to begin rebuilding.

Some 550,000 refugees and an estimated 4 million internally displaced people from south Sudan remain uprooted following the decades-long conflict in the south. The conflict there was officially brought to an end by the January 9 peace deal between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement / Army. In late February, UNHCR deployed an emergency team of experts in fields such as water, sanitation, community services, health, and income generation to begin reintegration projects to help communities cope with the returns. But we urgently need funding to ensure people can go home and stay home, and that's the message Ms. Chamberlin will convey in Oslo.

Although the Norwegian government-sponsored conference is aimed primarily at assistance for south Sudan, humanitarian needs for the conflict in Darfur are also expected to be discussed. UNHCR's budget for its Darfur operation is more than $31 million, but less than $2 million has been received. In Chad, where UNHCR helps care for some 200,000 Darfur refugees in 11 camps, we need more than $81 million and have so far received a little more than $30 million.

The acting High Commissioner is scheduled to travel to Sudan on April 17 for a five-day visit to the region. She is expected to start her mission in Khartoum and will travel to Darfur on Tuesday, April 19. She is expected to spend up to two days in Darfur before crossing the border to neighbouring Chad, where she will visit refugees in the east (from Darfur) and south (from Central African Republic) of the country. She is scheduled to return to depart Chad for Geneva on April 22.