Panafrican News Agency

Sudan, S. Sudan FMs propose scrapping visa requirements to deal with increasing refugee population in region

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA)   -   The South Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Awut Deng, at a meeting here Thursday with her Sudanese counterpart, Ms Asma Abdallah, proposed that the two countries scrap visa requirements to allow for free movement of people and commodities across their common borders, an official source said.

The two sides have therefore set up a committee to look into the matter in a bid to deal with the issue of refugees fleeing conflict in the region.

The meeting followed a United Nations statement here that in 2019, South Sudanese refugees continued arriving in the Sudan as instability in their country persisted.

The UN said the government of Sudan had maintained an open border policy, allowing safe and unrestricted access for those fleeing conflict and conflict-related food insecurity and granting them refugee status.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a report issued here traced the start of South Sudanese pouring into the Sudan back in 2013 when conflict erupted in their country, with over 2.2 million citizens fleeing their homes to take refuge in neighboring countries.

The OCHA report said as of 30 September 2019, Sudan continued to host “the largest number of South Sudanese refugees in the region with an estimated 859,000 refugees, with approximately 467,000 living in Sudan prior to the conflict in South Sudan.”

It explained that the total number of South Sudanese refugees includes UNHCR and Commission for Refugees (COR) registered refugees, Immigration Passport Police (IPP) registered figures, and the unregistered population.

Although it said other sources estimated that a total of 1.3 million South Sudanese refugees were in Sudan, it cautioned that this data required verification.


-0-      PANA     MO/RA   17OCT2019