USCRI: Sudan’s Neighbors are Critical to Ensuring Refugees and Returnees are Protected Amid the Crisis

By USCRI May 17, 2023

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) strongly condemns the violence gripping Sudan and encourages its neighboring states to offer robust humanitarian protection to populations displaced by the crisis.

Fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has plunged Sudan into a humanitarian and displacement crisis. Growing numbers of refugees, returnees, and other displaced persons have crossed into Sudan’s neighboring states since violence erupted in mid-April 2023. The United Nations plans for about 860,000 people to flee to Sudan’s neighboring countries through October 2023.

Sudan has a decades-long record of hosting and protecting refugees from nations experiencing insecurity, such as Eritrea, Syria, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Yemen, and South Sudan. Some populations displaced through the fighting are being forced to return to their countries of origin or another country altogether after previously finding a safe haven in Sudan.

“This is a very precarious situation involving vulnerable and repeatedly displaced populations,” USCRI President and CEO Eskinder Negash said. “We urge neighboring states to continue offering welcome to Sudanese and other returnee and refugee populations affected by this spiraling situation.”

The Jeddah Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan, signed by the SAF and RSF, must be carried out fully to ensure adherence to international humanitarian law and the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance.

USCRI is also concerned about reports of forced repatriation of previously displaced Eritreans back to Eritrea—where refugees have fled from since at least the 1960s. These reports underscore the trauma and uncertainty experienced by refugees repeatedly displaced by conflict in the region, such as South Sudanese displaced by the civil war beginning in 2013 and various groups displaced by the conflict in Tigray that erupted in November 2020.

“These myriad groups– newly displaced Sudanese, as well as previously displaced refugees returning to their home countries or third countries—all deserve the promise of lasting protection,” Negash said.

USCRI, founded in 1911, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit international organization committed to working on behalf of refugees and immigrants and their transition to a dignified life.

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