The Tragedy of Sudanese Refugees in Ethiopia Worsens

Addis Ababa – almohagig


The committee of coordination of Sudanese refugees stranded in Ethiopia issued a statement – a copy of which Almohagig obtained – in response to the statement issued by the UNHCR (Ethiopia) regarding the conditions in which they live in the Olala forests. The committee called for the refugees to return to Sudan if UNHCR failed to solve their problems.

The committee noted that 29 days of suffering had passed and alerted to some fallacies in the Commission’s statement. The statement confirmed that the number of refugees affected by security and food exceeded 6,000 refugees, and not a thousand refugees as the Commission’s statement indicated, including 2,135 children and more than 300 elderly people, and that The security situation is still dangerous due to the ongoing military activity between the regional forces, the federal army, and the militias, in addition to the killing, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, intimidation, and threats to which refugees have been exposed, by armed elements of unknown affiliation.

Also, the lack of food supplies still poses a major challenge for refugees despite the efforts of some Sudanese and humanitarians to provide them with some financial aid. This aid contributed to providing some food and health supplies, but it was not sufficient for everyone.

The statement denied that there had been any coordination between the Refugee Coordination Committee and the organisation regarding their fate since their detention in the Olala forests, unlike the local authorities who are trying to return them to the unsafe camps, to which the committee confirmed their refusal to return. It warned against any bargaining by UNHCR that would force refugees to return to areas of attack in exchange for providing services.

The coordination called on the UNHCR to fully carry out its assigned role instead of questioning the refugee numbers and underestimating the gravity of the situation.

The statement warned that any delay in responding to the crisis will cause a humanitarian catastrophe as the fall season approaches, and refugees will be exposed to the danger of reptiles and insects due to their presence in the forest.

The statement pointed out that the scarcity of humanitarian supplies prompted large numbers of them to go on a forced hunger strike to preserve the lives of the weakest group, in addition to drinking unsafe water.

The committee appealed to the UNHCR to expedite the transfer of refugees to a safe place chosen in coordination with local authorities outside the Ethiopian state or to return them to Sudan.

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