Thursday, July 26, 2007

UNHCR Representatives to Sudan and Chad Briefing

Featured Speakers: Chrysantos Ache, UNHCR Representative to Sudan; Serge Male, UNHCR Representative to Chad

The task of UNHCR in Sudan and Chad these days is immense. As the UNHCR Representatives to these countries detailed the progress and obstacles to protecting the vast numbers of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in this region, they remarked upon the major initiatives that need to be achieved by both the international and development communities.

Though most people characterize the conflict in Sudan as primarily revolving around the Darfur region, Mr. Ache quickly pointed out that this vast country is comprised of 5 distinct regions dealing with their own specific refugee crises – whether it be massive populations of IDPs, camp protection management, or the challenges of refugee reintegration. In order to implement the 3 current peace agreements in Sudan, Mr. Ache argued that the international community must do its best to assist the Sudanese people by conducting a census, holding elections, and calling for a future referendum to decide on the status of Darfur.

While Mr. Male asserted that refugee camps in Chad were up to “international standards,” he stressed that it is up to the development community to assist in the next phase of refugee protection – moving refugees out of these camps and repatriating and reintegrating them back to their homelands. Because of the regionalization of this conflict in Africa, Chad struggles to absorb refugees from not only Sudan, but also the Central African Republic. Mr. Male reiterated that with more attention from the development community these refugees might still live in relative poverty, but could do so with a little more dignity.

Click here to learn more about UNHCR’s work in Sudan and Chad.

Sponsor: Migration Policy Institute

Location: Migration Policy Institute Conference Room

Date: July 18, 2007

Time: 8:30 – 10:30

Approximate Number of Attendees: 40

Intern Attending: Megan Niedermeyer

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