NHCR held its Regional Strategy Meeting for the Repatriation and Reintegration of Sudanese Refugees in Addis Ababa, and agreed upon key operational directions, including voluntary repatriation targets for 2008 and 2009. It was also concluded that UNHCR would focus its attention more towards reintegration assistance for returnees next year.
The preparation for the 2009 UN and Partners Work Plan for Sudan continued. UNHCR remained highly involved as co-lead in the Protection/Human Rights/Rule of Law sector countrywide and as focal point for the sector in several regions (Blue Nile State, Darfur, East and Khartoum/North). UNHCR will be placing projects in nine sectors for an amount of US$120 million.
UNHCR continued active engagement in the formulation of a SGBV Working Group to focus attention on the issue in Khartoum State and to advocate for the strengthening of referral mechanisms for SGBV victims.
An influx of Congolese refugees to South Sudan occurred as the result of attacks by armed groups. Initial estimates put the number of arrivals at 5,000, but ongoing verification will likely bring the number to around 2,000. UNHCR worked with partner agencies to provide emergency assistance and ongoing protection to the refugees.
UNHCR and South Sudanese government officials undertook a 'Come and Tell' visit to the Fugnido and Sherkole refugee camps in Ethiopia.
1,345 new arrivals from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia entered Eastern Sudan during September. Twentyone refugees being smuggled across the Atbara River drowned after their overloaded boat capsized. UNHCR is looking into the complicated issue of restriction of movement and smuggling of refugees.
The conflict continued to cause new internal displacements across the region, in addition to new refugee influxes from Chad. Lack of humanitarian access, chiefly for security concerns, hindered missions to assess new displacement in rural areas of North Darfur. UNHCR and other actors continued to undertake joint protection monitoring and needs assessment missions to camps and other rural areas of South and West Darfur.
In the framework of the Protection Working Group, UNHCR, other agencies and UNAMID discussed the lessons learned from the Kalma incident of August 25 in order to enhance measures to prevent and better respond to protection of civilians in camp situations.