UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, called for more international support to Sudan in its humanitarian efforts to shelter South Sudanese refugees fleeing the four-year conflict in South Sudan.
Grandi, the new chief of UN refugee agency, paid his first official visit as High Commissioner to Sudan this week, visited Al-Nimir refugee camp in East Darfur which hosts over 5,000 South Sudanese refugees. He also met with President Omer al-Bashir and foreign minister Ibrahim Ghanour.
“For decades, Sudan has kept its doors open to people fleeing war, hunger and hardship. I saw this myself when I worked there as a UNHCR field officer nearly 30 years ago and this continues today as South Sudanese refugees flee the horrors of war,” Grandi said on Wednesday according to a statement released by the UNHCR on Thursday.
He further said this exceptional generosity needed to be acknowledged and supported. “Sudan’s generosity must be matched with international solidarity and resources. Much more donor support is required – and urgently – so that we can help the hundreds of thousands of refugees in the country and the communities that are hosting them.”
In a meeting with the UNHCR representative for Sudan Noriko Yoshida on Monday 14 August, Sudan’s Minister of International Cooperation Idris Suleiman discussed ways to provide the east African country with the needed funds to cover the requirements of the refugees in Sudan.
Sudan hosts over 416,000 South Sudanese refugees who arrived since 2013, 110,000 Eritrean refugees, and more than 100,000 Syrian refugees. Besides some 500,000 South Sudanese who stayed in Sudan following the separation are also in need of humanitarian assistance according to the UN.
According to the UNHCR, President al-Bashir reassured Grandi “that Sudan will continue providing safety” to the refugees including those who arrive from South Sudan, and other countries.