Monday, July 23, 2007

Making Life Easier for Sudanese Refugees

The desire of refugees to return to their homeland is heartbreaking – but repatriation can only be successful if the receiving country has developed basic infrastructure and can provide essential humanitarian services to those it seeks to welcome.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is intimately familiar with this challenge, particularly in the region of South Sudan, where refugees from the region have scattered into Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia and the Central African Republic.

High Commissioner António Guterres recently visited South Sudan to raise awareness during World Refugee Day (June 20) while also highlighting an emerging success story.

Since 2005, more than 155,000 Sudanese refugees from at least seven countries have returned home to South Sudan, including 64,000 through UNHCR’s voluntary and assisted repatriation operation. However, over 300,000 refugees remain in camps in neighboring states.

To improve this situation, UNHCR plans to bring home a total of 102,000 refugees by the end of 2007. The plan is to provide them with individual repatriation packages and community-based reintegration support. UNHCR needs all the support it can get, whether through awareness raising or donations.

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