KAMPALA – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development – IGAD, and the East Africa Community – EAC Ministers have asked rival factions in Sudan to end the civil war.
The ministers voiced their concerns during the closure of a three-day high-level ministerial conference held at Speke Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo in Kampala on Friday.
At the heart of the armed conflict that started on April 15, 2023, are two factions – one led by Sudan’s head of the army, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo – the country’s deputy and head of the Rapid Support Forces – RSF paramilitary group.
Since the conflict broke out, over 1,800 fatalities have been reported and at least 1.5 million Sudanese have been displaced in neighbouring South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Egypt internally among others while 3.5 million others have been internally displaced.
Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Affey, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees – UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa said what is happening in Sudan was unacceptable, and shameful because it undermines efforts for lasting peace.
Eng. Hillary Onek, Uganda’s Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees said refugee host countries like Uganda were facing a rising trend of asylum seekers, which impacts negatively on the country’s ability to sustainably support them.
Eng. Onek cited limited humanitarian emergency support, increased adverse effects of climate change, limited livelihoods, and job opportunities for both refugees and host communities, and cyclical violent conflicts and wars like in Sudan which stop for peace to prevail for the displaced population.
Dr Susan Ngongi Namondo, the UN Resident Coordinator in Uganda said the UN team estimates that $235m, an equivalent of Ugx864bn was needed over a four-year period to respond to emerging refugee crises and deliver sustainable results.
Uganda currently hosts over 1,535,900 million refugees, primarily arising from conflicts in neighbouring countries within the IGAD and EAC regions. As of May 2023, the East and Horn Africa region hosted over 5.2 million refugees and asylum seekers, as well as 12 million internally displaced persons – IDPs.
From December 13 – 15, 2023, Uganda and Niger have been selected from Africa to co-host the Second Global Refugee Forum alongside, France, Japan, and Colombia, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland.
Notably, the delegates from 12 countries of the East and Horn of Africa that includes Burundi, DRC, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda convened for the summit to discuss durable solutions for refugees in the region.
They also signed a declaration that binds the IGAD and EAC partner states and humanitarian agencies to increase funding support to refugees, host communities, and internally displaced persons, building sustainable regional peace and security; safe and viable conditions for repatriation, and local integration of refugees in countries of origin.
The IGAD-EAC Ministerial Declaration also advocates for increased engagement of the private sector in the refugee hosting countries to harness the of refugees and host communities for economic development, mitigate impacts of climate change and build community resilience against natural hazards such as floods, hunger, and drought.
Meanwhile, the summit also condemned the al-Shabaab attack on the Uganda People’s Defence Forces – UPDF base at Buulo-Mareer along River Shabelle in the Lower Shabelle region on May 26, which left 54 soldiers dead.