The European Commission has announced a €100m development package to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement in Sudan.The money will come from the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, was set up last year to tackle this specific problem.
EU commissioner for international development Neven Mimica said the support will focus on improving living conditions for those who live in the conflict-ridden country, helping returnees reintegrate into society and improving security at the borders.
He noted that “more than ten years after the start of the Darfur conflict, the level of displacement in Sudan remains huge, with over three million internally displaced persons living within its borders”.As well as hosting refugees from nearby countries, like war-torn South Sudan, tensions have flared again in recent months in Sudan’s troubled Darfur state.
In February, the thousands of civilians were fleeing the state’s Jebel Marra area after clashes between the president Omar al-Bashir’s troops and rebels.Government forces have been accused of violence towards civilians and Bashir has been charged by the international criminal court for war crimes in Darfur.
A vote on controversial referendum, which would see Darfur’s five states reunited as one single semi-autonomous zone, is due to be held next week, a move that is likely to stoke tensions further.The commission said the funding will target the peripheral and conflict-affected areas like Darfur, East Sudan and the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Mimica visited the country yesterday in hopes of paving the way to improving the living conditions of refugees, internally displaced people, their host communities and other vulnerable groups.The commission said the funds will focus on reducing poverty, promoting peace and governance, supporting the creation of jobs and improving the delivery of basic services like health and education.
Those areas “experiencing large migratory flows” will also be a target of funding, as will support to enhance border controls, fight and prevent human trafficking and smuggling and the reintegration of returned refugees.Amnesty International has spoken out against the EU’s migration schemes spanning Sudan and elsewhere, arguing that the EU should not be collaborating with governments that in many cases are the very thing refugees are fleeing from.
Earlier this week, the American international development agency USAID announced a further $68m in food aid for Sudan, which has the third highest prevalence of malnutrition in the world.