25 October 2018 (UNHCR): Over 50 officials of the Sudanese Government participated in a two-day workshop on national and international protection and refugee law, counter human-trafficking, and protection of victims of human-trafficking and irregular migrants. The training workshop, organized by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in collaboration with the Commission of Refugees (COR) of the Sudanese Government and the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM), was held recently in Dongola, Northern Sudan State.
The workshop was also aimed to get the Sudanese Officials acquainted with the mandate of UNHCR, IOM and COR and the Sudanese Asylum Organization Act of 2014. Participants included frontline officials from various law enforcement entities, including Military Intelligence, joint Armed Forces, Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, the State Bar Association and the State’s Counter-trafficking and Immigration Committee.
H.E. Yasir Yusuf, Wali (Governor) of the Northern State, addressed the participants and noted that refugees and migrants have been welcomed in Sudan by virtue of the values and traditions of the Sudanese people. He also hailed the convocation of the workshop in Dongola as a step forward in building the capacity of local authorities in the area. Due to its geographical location, Dongola is at a crossroad of mixed migration movements to Europe along the Eastern Mediterranean route. Hence, there is a need to strengthen the capacity of Government officials from the various law enforcement agencies in tackling protection of refugees and migrants as well as victims of human trafficking.
Ibrahim Abdalla, the Director of Protection Department at COR made a comprehensive presentation on the Asylum Organization Act 2014 of the Republic of the Sudan as well as on COR’s mandate, particularly on refugee status determination, registration and issuance of ID cards for refugees and asylum-seekers. He explained that, besides the continuous waves of migrants, many Sudanese States are now experiencing an influx of refugees and asylum-seekers due to the situations in some neighboring countries. Enhancing COR’s cooperation with various governments at the State’s levels is therefore essential to fulfil Sudan’s international obligations towards refugees and asylum seekers.
In the opening remarks IOM and UNHCR stated that mixed migration via the Northern State has become a major cause of concern in recent years. The different groups of individuals in these movements face a variety of risks, including violation of their basic human rights. It is therefore important to build the capacities of the law enforcement agencies at the State level, in cooperation with the international community, in order to deal with the challenging issues of human trafficking and smuggling, including the protection of victims of human trafficking.
At the end of the workshop the participants made some recommendations that will form the basis for concrete actions, including the establishment of a safe house for victims of trafficking and irregular migrants in the Northern State; the possibility of establishing a coordination office for UNHCR, COR and IOM in the Northern State; promotion of technical and logistical support for law enforcement entities; design of practical Standard Operating Procedures on how to deal with onward movements in the region; and lastly the establishment of an Information Centre to serve as a credible hub for data on the onward movement of the refugees, asylumseekers and irregular migrants.
By the end of September 2018, Sudan is hosting over 922,752 refugees from South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Syria and few other countries, including 97,127 refugees living in nine refugee camps in East Sudan.
UNHCR estimates that 63 per cent of the 4,017 new arrivals in East Sudan in the first half of 2018 left the refugee camps within two months of arrival and therefore risk falling prey to abuse and exploitation by smugglers.