UN urges Sudan neighbours to keep borders open

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The countries bordering Sudan, which has been shaken by fighting for the past two months, must “keep their borders open”, urged the United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, after announcing that more than half a million people had fled the country.

“My appeal to all neighbouring countries is to say ‘I understand your security concerns, but please keep your borders open, because these are people fleeing for their lives’,” said Mr Grandi, who was in Nairobi to mark world refugee day.

The fighting in Sudan that broke out on 15th April between the army, commanded by general Abdel Fattah Al-Burhane, and the paramilitary rapid support forces (RSF), led by general Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, has left more than 2,000 people dead, according to the NGO ACLED.

Earlier in the day, Mr Grandi announced that the number of people who had fled Sudan to seek refuge abroad had now exceeded 500,000, and that the number of displaced persons in the country had reached two million.

“It’s a worrying situation with neighbouring countries that are very fragile” and “insecurity that risks spreading,” he shared.

According to the United Nations, more than 150,000 people have fled Darfur to neighbouring Chad, one of the least developed countries in the world, which is already hosting tens of thousands of refugees, particularly from Cameroon and the Central African Republic. Many Sudanese have also fled to South Sudan and Egypt.

“This must stop, because it risks having incalculable consequences in the region and beyond”, pleaded the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.

“If we don’t silence these weapons, the exodus of the Sudanese people will continue”, warned Filippo Grandi, claiming that the number of displaced people in the country has reached two million.

According to the UN, 25 million Sudanese more than half the population now need humanitarian aid to survive.

On Monday, the international community pledged some 1.5 billion dollars to help Sudan, a sum that represents only half of the total that humanitarian agencies estimate they need.

Filippo Grandi called on the international community to give more, comparing it to the military expenditure committed by the states.

“I’m not saying that military spending isn’t necessary, that’s not my area (…), but humanitarian aid is a tiny, tiny fraction of all that. I can’t believe we can’t do more,” he said, calling for “more humanitarian resources from the gulf states”.

Africanews/Hauwa M.