As refugees from Ethiopia cross into Sudan following the recent outbreak of conflict in the Tigray region, Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, is visiting the border areas in Sudan and the capital Khartoum to re-emphasise EU humanitarian support as well as underline the EU's continued commitment to supporting Sudan's political transition.
Commissioner Lenarčič will meet Sudanese Prime Minister and head of the civilian-led Transitional Government Abdalla Hamdok, and General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, President of the Sovereign Council, as well as representatives of humanitarian organisations. He will also travel to the border area in Eastern Sudan to visit the Hamdayet and the Um Rakuba camps where more than 45,000 refugees have arrived over the past few weeks. On his way to Sudan, the Commissioner also intends to meet with the Ethiopian Minister of Peace, Muferiat Kamil, in Addis Ababa.
The EU also approved today a €70 million contribution to the Sudan Family Support Programme, helping the country's ambitious economic reforms, whilst reducing the strains of the global pandemic on Sudanese families. Together with the €4 million in emergency humanitarian assistance recently mobilised, the total ‘Team Europe' response to this programme amounts to €230 million.
Commissioner Lenarčič said: “Tens of thousands of people have fled Ethiopia's Tigray region across the Sudanese border. I commend the Sudanese authorities for their swift reaction to this new and grave humanitarian crisis. The EU is stepping up its humanitarian support for people in need. Nevertheless, it is crucial that Ethiopian authorities ensure an immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access for humanitarian workers to all areas affected by fighting in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.”
Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, said: “The EU continues to deliver on its commitments made at this year's Sudan Partnership Conference, reaffirming that Sudan is a priority partner today, and in the long run. The additional funds will provide millions of Sudanese families with an economic cushion during the mounting economic crisis and throughout the ongoing pandemic. They will support the Government to fulfil much-needed economic reforms and build a more prosperous future for its citizens. We remain fully committed to support this political and economic transition, every step of the way.”
EU provides rapid additional help via the Union Civil Protection Mechanism
In response to the activation of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg, Estonia and Norway have offered assistance. The very first help is coming from Sweden in the form of three base camps, encompassing basic infrastructure and logistic centres with tents for humanitarian workers, which will be delivered to the UNHCR in Sudan. More assistance is expected to be delivered by the above European countries in the coming days.
The arrival of Ethiopian refugees in Sudan over the past weeks has created urgent needs for additional resources to accommodate the incoming displaced people. This new refugee crisis comes as Sudan is itself grappling with a dire humanitarian situation caused by conflict, a deepening economic crisis, unprecedented floods, a locust outbreak and the coronavirus pandemic. Sudan is already one of the largest refugee hosting countries in Africa, with more than 1 million refugees, mostly from South Sudan.
The latest €4 million in humanitarian support for Ethiopian refugees fleeing the Tigray conflict brings the total EU humanitarian aid for Sudan to €65.5 million in 2020.
The Sudan Family Support Programme, managed by the World Bank and implemented by the Government of Sudan, sets out to develop a Government-owned social protection system, while addressing the immediate economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This is achieved by delivering cash transfers to 80% of the country's population, 32 million of the most vulnerable families and citizens, over 12 months.
In June 2020, the EU, UN, Germany and Sudan co-hosted the Sudan Partnership Conference raising a total of €1.6 billion in pledges. Team Europe (EU institutions and EU Member States) provided €770 million in development and humanitarian funding.
Since 2016, the EU provided development aid of up to €500 million, mostly through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to, among others, promote peace, support women and young people's economic empowerment, and ensure inclusive and sustainable growth for all. Of this, the EU has provided €277.8 million in support of the civilian-led transition since early September 2019.
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