Refugees and IDPs in Sudan - The Crisis Continues
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees in Sudan. According to the latest U.N. estimates, a total of around 4.4 million IDPs and some 200,000 refugees -- mostly from Eritrea and the Congo (DRC) -- remain in the country.
Since independence, Sudan has been ravaged by two civil wars between the North and the South (1955 --1972; 1983 – 2005), until a fragile Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005 between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) settled the conflict. A six-year interim period followed, and as stipulated in the CPA, Sudan held national and regional elections in April. A referendum on Southern self-determination is scheduled for January 2011.
During the peace negotiations, conflict erupted in the Western region of Darfur in 2003, which the U.S. declared a genocide on September 9, 2004. From its beginning, the conflict in Darfur between the Sudanese military colluding with pro-Arab Janjaweed militia, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), was characterized by ethnic cleansing and extraordinarily cruel use of force, including mass rape, mass killings, targeting of civilians and deliberate starvation. In 2007, the U.N. sent a peacekeeping force, UNAMID. Despite a recent cease fire agreement between the JEM and the Sudanese government, the security situation remains highly precarious.
The various conflicts had a devastating impact on the country, with over 2 million deaths in the last two decades in Southern Sudan, an estimated 450,000 deaths in Darfur, and a total displaced population of over 4 million people. Insecurity has prevented people from returning home, cultivating their lands, and rebuilding their communities. Many are dependent on the U.N. and NGOs for their most basic humanitarian needs, such as medical assistance, accommodation, education, food and water. Poverty, gender-based violence, child abductions and human trafficking remain causes of serious concern.
If you have any questions, please contact 202-225-3599.
Eric P. Schwartz, Assistant Secretary â€“ Bureau of Refugees, Population, Migration, U.S. Department of State
Vincent Cochetel, Regional Representative, UNHCR
Michel Gabaudan, President, Refugees International
Thon Chol, Former Executive Director, Sudanese Community of Western Michigan and Unaccompanied Sudanese Refugee Minor
Elizabeth Anok Kuch, Board Member of the Lost Boys & Girls of Sudan National Network and Former Unaccompanied Refugee Minor