TITLE: Humanitarian Problems of Eritrean Refugees in Sudan


SUBMITTED BY: ERAS (Eritrean Refugees Association in Sudan)

DATE: 7 May 2006



Appeal Grounds


Ever since 1967, Eritreans have been seeking asylum in Sudan and other countries in various influxes. Sudan, owing to its geographical closeness and its sympathy to Eritreans, shelters the biggest share of Eritrean refugees around the world. The responses of international community to those influxes have been fluctuating based primarily on the instant state of refugees thus meeting only the basic human survival needs though it sometimes comes so late when the impact is shocking. It is still recalled how refugees survived famine, diseases, conflicts of previous years largely without the attention of the international communities.


This brief appeal comes in conjunction with the growing concerns and attentions of various agencies, the worsening situation of Eritrean Refugees in Sudan as well as the last mission objectives of UNHCR-Geneva team. It is a complement to all previous appeal letters submitted to UNHCR-Sudan and is meant to materialize their contents and encourage international attention for a strategic action against prolonged refuge of Eritreans in Sudan.



Appeal Statement


Without going into the details of major causes of refuge, as they are evident all over, the appeal requests attention on post asylum situation of refugees. It is important at this point to correct the general conception upon which UNHCR and other humanitarian party’s respond to the existing situation of Eritrean refugees in Sudan. “Financial Migrants or Migrant refugees“. This notion severely damaged the true image of causes for refuge thus misleading the greater international sympathizers. It is ERAS deepest gratitude to understand that the idea was motivated by few personnel within UNHCR Sudan for unknown reasons.


Practically, Eritrean refugees regardless of age and gender are facing numerous obstacles in every location of the country (Camps, Villages or Towns). It ranges from insecurity to lack of basic human needs. ERAS should admit that little has been done, by UNHCR or the international community, to improve the situation primarily because of the above noted presumption.


Eritreans have been living in Sudan as refugees for almost five decades. Though considerable number of refugees has returned spontaneously and through repatriation programs organized by UNHCR or other means, opposite line of migration grew up again over the last few years before the cessation closure of refugee status.


A year and half has passed since the last appeal was submitted to UNHCR office in Khartoum and refugees situation in camps remain more or less unchanged. A number of malnourished children have already been reported, the number of asylum seeker kept growing, and security threats facing some refugees are still persisting or worsening. Refugees are still detained in camps with limited or no access to educational or self support opportunities. Individual measures taken by some refugees often result in self distraction or further migration which involves high risks. Deeper mistrust of UNHCR, as a refugee advocacy agency, grew up among the refugee community for its reluctance to react on emergency basis to this situation to either solve or improve those situations. However, refugees desperately keep knocking the doors of UNCHR everywhere in the country, often turned down by massive excuses.


Five decades is far too long for assessing and putting strategic solutions for a situation that has constantly been postponed. Supposedly UNHCR should assume the role of a government for stateless people to secure their safety, arrange for their return home as soon as conditions allow or negotiates resettlement quotas with several developed countries that are able to welcome refugees whose repatriation to home countries is not feasible. ERAS takes the feeling that UNHCR has to work harder on these issues now forgetting the past five decades. ERAS appeals for the speeding up of UNHCR Global Appeal 2006 – Sudan to end up this five decades long state of lost humans.


Recently, promising steps have come to light from UNHCR which we hope shall continue with the same momentum and would like to closely support.


This appeal hereby outlines its demands and urges UNHCR and all other humanitarian bodies to start and/or speed up efforts to:


–       improve the general living conditions in camps with particular attention to all basic needs i.e. improvement in the quality and quantity of food, water; rehabilitating existing shelters

–       increase focus on health situation of refugees particularly in camps

–       finding or facilitating self support programs or initiatives with concerned authorities both in camps or towns by assisting in simplifying restrictions on refugee movements

–       opening wider opportunities of Education for different levels

–       allow the screening of refugees whose cases are either closed or not given the chance particularly in towns

–       speed up action plans for durable solutions


ERAS strongly wishes for these claims to be understood and responded to by UNHCR Sudan.




–       UNDP

–       UNICEF

–       American Embassy

–       Russian Embassy

–       EU representative

–       Amnesty International

–       Human rights watch


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