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World Vision Statement Regarding our Past Engagement with Islamic Relief Agency in Sudan (31.07.2018)

World Vision has robust controls and screening processes in place and condemns any diversion of aid funding and strongly condemn any act of terrorism or support for those activities.

RANDBURG, South Africa, July 31, 2018 – World Vision’s work in Sudan is focused on improving the lives of the most vulnerable children. In 2017, our programs reached approximately 674,000 vulnerable people, 70 percent of these were children and women.  The work sub-granted to IRA in 2014 was a very small percentage of our significant program expenditures in Sudan, less than 1% of our total at that time.

In March 2014, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) approved World Vision’s grant proposal that clearly listed Islamic Relief Agency (IRA) as a proposed sub-grantee. At the time of selection, there was no indication that IRA had any possible ties to an alleged terrorist-supporting organisation.

There are several Islamic Relief organisations operating around the world which are not blocked, and when we searched the blocked parties lists for “Islamic Relief” in “Sudan,” the searches produced no results.  That is still true today on the website of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

In May 2014, when WV applied to renew its registration with OFAC as a charity working in Sudan, it identified IRA as a sub-grantee in its application. OFAC approved the renewal in August 2014 without any comments or questions about IRA.

In November 2014, we informed OFAC and USAID that we had concerns about IRA in Sudan possibly being related to certain other organisations with “Islamic Relief” in their names, designated by the US government as organisations allegedly supporting terrorism.  Because of these concerns, we suspended further grant implementation by IRA pending clarification from OFAC.

In January 2015, OFAC responded that IRA in Sudan “appears to be the same entity” as the one on OFAC’s blocked parties list. The sub-grant by then had expired, it was not renewed, and we discontinued any future collaboration with IRA.  At this time, OFAC authorised us to pay IRA $125,000 for the humanitarian work that was verified to have already been completed under the grant.  The payment made to IRA was not a diversion of funds but payment for programming services of confirmed quality.

World Vision took its compliance obligations seriously, but respectfully asked permission to pay IRA money owing for legitimate humanitarian work (salaries, humanitarian aid and supplies for beneficiaries, travel etc.) already incurred. World Vision explained failure to do so could have exposed it to potential legal liability for breach of contract, resulted in the very real chance of Government expulsion from Sudan and as a consequence, the loss of a lifeline for tens of thousands of children and their families.

World Vision has robust controls and screening processes in place and condemns any diversion of aid funding and strongly condemn any act of terrorism or support for those activities.

We have no evidence that any of our funds have been used for anything other than urgent humanitarian work.

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Sudan: The Troika Condemns Continued Clashes in Jebel Marra, Darfur (21.06.2018)

The civilian population continues to bear the brunt of this unnecessary violence, which has led to the burning down of villages, causing high numbers of civilian injury and Death.

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, June 21, 2018 – The Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States) condemns the ongoing clashes between the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) and Government of Sudan forces as well as inter-tribal violence in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur. The civilian population continues to bear the brunt of this unnecessary violence, which has led to the burning down of villages, causing high numbers of civilian injury and death, and the displacement of nearly 9,000 people.

It is unacceptable that the Government of Sudan has repeatedly prevented the African Union/United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and humanitarian actors from accessing the areas of conflict and displaced populations. The Troika strongly urges the Government of Sudan to immediately provide unfettered access to both UNAMID and humanitarian actors.

The SLA-AW leadership’s refusal to engage with the peace process obstructs the achievement of sustainable peace in Darfur and unnecessarily prolongs civilian suffering. The Government’s actions in military operations and its inaction in stopping the violence undermine efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict. There can be no military solution to the conflict in Darfur and the international community should consider imposing sanctions against those who continue to act as spoilers.

The Troika calls on all parties to the conflict to immediately cease all military engagement and hostilities, allow unfettered humanitarian access, and to meaningfully engage with the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) led peace process in order to reach a permanent ceasefire.

United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) deeply concerned about recent attacks on IDP camps in Central Darfur (25.05.2018)

These include increasing the number and frequency of patrols in and around the affected camps.

NORTH DARFUR, Sudan, May 25, 2018 – The African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) expresses deep concern about recent attacks on three different internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Central Darfur state, which took place between 21 and 23 May 2018, resulting in a number of civilian fatalities and injuries among IDPs.

Recent incidents were reported at Khamsa Dagaig, Ardayba and Jedda IDP camps.

The Mission reminds all parties involved that IDP camps are considered humanitarian space which should be free of weapons, where displaced people must not be subjected to threats, harassment, attacks or harm. Such actions could constitute a grave violation of international humanitarian law.

“While the prime responsibility of protecting civilians rests with the Government of Sudan, UNAMID shall continue to collaborate with the relevant government authorities on protecting civilians and engage with them regarding this matter at all levels,” said Jeremiah Mamabolo, UNAMID Joint Special Representative.

Meanwhile UNAMID has taken several measures in response to these recent attacks. These include increasing the number and frequency of patrols in and around the affected camps, as well as dispatching integrated teams to verify these incidents and engage with the relevant local authorities in efforts to calm the situation and prevent further attacks.

UNAMID continues to monitor events and take appropriate measures, in line with its protection of civilians mandate from the United Nations Security Council.

The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) Joint Special Representative (JSR) visits Golo and expresses concern over reports of recent clashes and displacement in Jebel Marra (23.05.2018)

Jeremiah Mamabolo has concluded a two day visit to oversee progress on the establishment of the Mission’s temporary operating base in Golo, Jebel Marra.

KHARTOUM, Sudan, May 23, 2018 – The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) Joint Special Representative (JSR) Jeremiah Mamabolo has concluded a two day visit to oversee progress on the establishment of the Mission’s temporary operating base in Golo, Jebel Marra.

On arrival, UNAMID personnel working on the ground briefed him on the current security situation and the challenges faced, including rough terrain, the upcoming rainy season and recent clashes between Government of Sudan Forces and Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) elements in the greater Jebel Marra area.

Mr. Mamabolo, who travelled by road, commended the Chinese and Pakistani engineering companies for setting up the base and improving the road between Kabkabiya and Golo, which has eased movement and significantly reduced travel time between these locations, thereby facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

He also extended his appreciation to the commander and members of the Rwandese Battalion who took charge of both protecting the new base during the construction phase, along with implementing protection of civilians tasks in and around Golo, as mandated by the United Nations Security Council resolution 2363 and the African Union Peace and Security Council communique of June 2017.

Moreover, JSR Mamabolo expressed concern about the recent clashes between the Government of Sudan forces and SLA/AW and urged both sides to exercise restraint and consider the impact of renewed fighting on vulnerable civilians.

“UNAMID appeals to all parties involved to exercise restraint and resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue and the peace process. A political solution is the best way forward to satisfy the interests of the people of Darfur,” he said.

“We particularly regret the new displacements and the burning of villages such as Gobbo, Kawara, Kimingtong in South Darfur as well as other villages in the Rokero locality in Central Darfur,” he added.

In this regard, Mr. Mamabolo commended the UN Country Team for swiftly responding to and assisting those affected by the ensuing humanitarian situation.

At the end of his visit, the JSR and his delegation paid a courtesy call on Golo Commissioner, Col. Jafar Mohamed Abaker and discussed cooperation regarding progress on the temporary operating base, as well as community projects that UNAMID is implementing in the locality.

UNHCR suspends resettlement programme from Sudan as fraud probe gathers steam (17.05.2018)

KHARTOUM, Sudan – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is temporarily suspending its refugee resettlement programme from Sudan in connection with two ongoing investigations launched in February and March by the organization’s independent Inspector General’s Office.

A separate anti-fraud and integrity support mission is expected to deploy shortly.

“At present we are still dealing with allegations, based on reports that have come from refugees. Nonetheless these are worrying and the integrity of the Sudan resettlement programme has to be assured beyond any doubt,” said UNHCR Representative for Sudan Noriko Yoshida. “Should wrongdoing be confirmed, those responsible can expect the consequences to be severe.”

Resettlement is one of the three main solutions for refugees and applies to vulnerable people for whom there is no possibility of either voluntary return or local integration. As such, it is a vital lifeline.

UNHCR encourages anyone with information about suspected fraud or other wrongdoing to contact its Inspector General’s Office without delay on http://www.unhcr.org/inspector-generals-office.html. UNHCR never charges fees to help refugees or others under its duty of care.

United Nations Humanitarian Chief calls for more aid to 7.1 million vulnerable people in Sudan (14.05.2018)

Sudan Democracy First Group: The Suspension of Hurriyat Online Newspaper (28.04.2018)

United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Commissioner of Refugees (COR) joint Press Release on return of the first group of Sudanese returnees from Chad (17.04.2018)

This return follows the signing of a tripartite agreement in May 2017 by the governments of Sudan and Chad and United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for the voluntary repatriation of Sudanese refugees from Chad.

NORTH DARFUR, Sudan, April 17, 2018 – On 14 April 2018, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Commissioner of Refugees (COR) welcomed the first convoy of 53 Sudanese refugees who have returned to Sudan after more than 14 years in exile, in eastern Chad.

Accompanied by Deputy Representative of UNHCR in Chad and Commissioner for Refugees and other senior government officials in Chad, the returnees were warmly received by the Commissioner of Tina locality, the Commissioner of Refugees and UNHCR Representative in Sudan as well as leaders of local administration and community in Tina.

Sudanese refugees fled to Chad following eruption of conflicts in Darfur in 2003 -2004.  Many refugees have indicated their interest to return to Sudan with the stabilization and improvement of general security in Darfur.

This return follows the signing of a tripartite agreement in May 2017 by the governments of Sudan and Chad and UNHCR for the voluntary repatriation of Sudanese refugees from Chad.

The Sudanese returnees were assisted with a reintegration package and transportation from the reception Centre in Tina to their home villages in North Darfur.

The Commissioner of Refugees, Hamad El-Gizouli said: “this is an historic moment to receive the first group of Sudanese returnees from Chad.

I would like to emphasize the importance that the Sudanese Government attaches to the voluntary return of refugees as being the best solution for them so that they can begin to rebuild their life as Sudanese citizens.” 

The Representative of UNHCR in Sudan, Noriko Yoshida said: “It is very moving to see refugees returning to their home country after many years in exile.  I want to seize this opportunity to appeal to the international community to assist the efforts being exerted by the Sudanese government for the sustainable and durable return of the Sudanese refugees from Chad, which would equally benefit internally displaced persons and the local community through promoting peaceful co-existence among them”.

Adam El-Nour Abakar, who left to Chad some 15 years ago and returned home voluntarily said: “I’m so happy to return back to my country with my family.  I really feel comfortable and content.  I cannot thank UNHCR and the Governments of Chad and Sudan enough for facilitating our return to Sudan. I am eager to catch the agricultural season in my home area in Kebkabiya.” 

UNHCR and two Governments concerned are targeting the repatriation of 20,000 refugees from Chad during the course of 2018.  Registration will continue in Chad and refugees will be assisted should they express their intention to return to Sudan.

UNHCR and the Government of Sudan acknowledge the existence of spontaneous returnees from Chad to Sudan, and these return areas are also in need of urgent rehabilitation.

It is to be noted that some 300,000 Sudanese refugees are currently reside in eastern Chad.

Darfur: Mukjar Camp to Close as Chadian Refugees Return Home (09.04.2018)

Over 8,300 Chadian refugees were living in Sudan prior to the start of the voluntary return at the end of 2017.

KHARTOUM, Sudan, April 9, 2018 – After more than 10 years of hosting Chadian refugees in Central Darfur, Mukjar refugee camp in Central Darfur is set to close, as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Commissioner of Refugees (COR) assisted the last refugees to return to their home country.

On Friday 6 April 2018, over 500 Chadian refugees still living in Mukjar camp were provided with return packages and transportation to a reception center in Eastern Chad, where UNHCR and the Government of Chad will provide further assistance for reintegration. UNHCR and COR are now making the final arrangements to hand over the land and camp facilities to local authorities and the host community.

“Throughout the time I lived in this refugee camp, I had never lost hope that one day I will be able to return home,” says Eissa Abakar, a 44-yearold Chadian refugee who fled to Sudan 12 years ago after conflict broke out in his country. “I feel privileged that I can finally be able to return home with my family.”

Taken by emotions as she boards the bus to Chad, Eissa’s wife, Acha Abdala is more than happy that her six children, half of them born in Sudan, are going to see their relatives and home village in Chad. “I have never wished for anything other than returning home. I feel like my dreams have come true,” she says as she sweeps tears with a shaky hand.

Mukjar camp was established in 2006, after refugees fled to the area following surge of hostilities between the government and opposition in Chad in 2006 and 2007. Since then, with the support of UNHCR, COR and Save the Children, Sweden, refugees have accessed basic services alongside the host community and internally displaced Sudanese, and have also been provided with protection services, non-food items, and food.

Upon the request for assistance of the Chadian refugees and with conditions improved in Chad, a tri-partite agreement was signed in May 2017 by the Governments of Sudan and Chad and UNHCR to provide a legal framework for the voluntary return of Chadian refugees in Darfur. In December 2017, UNHCR began assisting refugees to return to Chad, and has since supported the voluntary repatriation of nearly 4,000 refugees from Um Shalaya and Mukjar camps.

“UNHCR extends its appreciation to the Government of Sudan and residents of Darfur for welcoming and hosting the Chadian refugees for more than a decade,” said UNHCR Representative, Noriko Yoshida. “Finding durable solutions is a cornerstone of our work, so we are very pleased to be able to work with the Governments on both sides of the border to help refugees return home in dignity and safety”.

Over 8,300 Chadian refugees were living in Sudan prior to the start of the voluntary return at the end of 2017. UNHCR continues to assist the voluntary return of the remaining refugees who wish to do so in 2018.

Gabon: Minister de l’Eau et de l’Energie – Communique de Presse (16.02.2018)

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