Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


UN Beefs Up Monitoring of Returnees in Southern Sudan

New York, Nov 24 2010 2:10PM
As part of its efforts to assist in the return of refugees and displaced persons, the United Nations in Sudan has enhanced its monitoring of the number of people going back to their homes in the country’s south.

Speaking at a press conference in Khartoum today, the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Georg Charpentier, said the UN and its partners, in collaboration with national and state authorities, have enhanced monitoring of departures in the country’s north, as well as in key transit hubs and return areas.

One of the tasks of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is to facilitate and coordinate, within its capabilities and areas of deployment, the voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons. By the end of 2009, total returns had climbed to more than 2.3 million, consisting of both organized and spontaneous returns.

“The Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission has reported 18,213 state-organized returns to Unity (state) with buses continuing to arrive,” Mr. Charpentier said. “The first return convoys to the Abyei Area, organized by the Abyei Area Administration, have now departed, from Blue Nile and Sennar (states) on 19 November and from Khartoum on 20 November with an estimated total of approximately 2,000 returnees.”

He added that at Kosti, in White Nile state, the UN’s partners have detected 5,307 spontaneous returns in the month of November – equivalent to roughly double the average total for the same period in previous years.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

On 9 January next year, the inhabitants of southern Sudan will vote on whether to secede from the rest of the country, while the residents of the centrally-located Abyei area, will vote on whether to be part of the north or the south.

The referenda will be the final phase in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended two decades of conflict between the northern-based Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in the south.

UNMIS is working with both parties on options for a possible augmentation of additional UN peacekeepers in Sudan, to increase referendum and post-referendum security as well as the UN’s capacity to verify and monitor possible ceasefire violations and to protect civilians throughout the mission area.

The Humanitarian Coordinator said that the efforts to help those returning also include a particular focus on livelihoods and services to promote the reintegration of the returnees, in order to help avoid creating dependency or new camps for internally displaced persons.

“We should not put people who are self-reliant into a situation of dependency,” Mr. Charpentier said, adding that humanitarian operators in the country welcomed the commitment of authorities in both northern and southern Sudan to de-linking returns from any political considerations tied to the upcoming referenda.

He also noted that the UN and its partners were coordinating their contingency plans for any uncertainty related to the outstanding benchmarks of the CPA, including the referenda.

“To ensure timely support, supplies in key life-saving sectors, including health, nutrition, water, and food are being procured and pre-positioned in several places and in line with potential needs,” Mr. Charpentier said, adding that the Government – in both the North and South – has been called on to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to vulnerable populations.


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines

UN News: Aid Access Is Key Priority

Among the key issues facing diplomats is securing the release of a reported 199 Israeli hostages, seized during the Hamas raid. “History is watching,” says Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths. “This war was started by taking those hostages. Of course, there's a history between Palestinian people and the Israeli people, and I'm not denying any of that. But that act alone lit a fire, which can only be put out with the release of those hostages.” More

Save The Children: Four Earthquakes In a Week Leave Thousands Homeless

Families in western Afghanistan are reeling after a fourth earthquake hit Herat Province, crumbling buildings and forcing people to flee once again, with thousands now living in tents exposed to fierce winds and dust storms. The latest 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit 30 km outside of Herat on Sunday, shattering communities still reeling from strong and shallow aftershocks. More

UN News: Nowhere To Go In Gaza

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said some 1.1M people would be expected to leave northern Gaza and that such a movement would be “impossible” without devastating humanitarian consequences and appeals for the order to be rescinded. The WHO joined the call for Israel to rescind the relocation order, which amounted to a “death sentence” for many. More

Access Now: Telecom Blackout In Gaza An Attack On Human Rights

By October 10, reports indicated that fixed-line internet, mobile data, SMS, telephone, and TV networks are all seriously compromised. With significant and increasing damage to the electrical grid, orders by the Israeli Ministry of Energy to stop supplying electricity and the last remaining power station now out of fuel, many are no longer able to charge devices that are essential to communicate and access information. More


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.