ICER Applauds Antonio Guterres’ Visit to Shagarab Refugee Camp and His Efforts to Solve the Refugee Crisis in Eritrea
January 16, 2012 Antonio Guterres The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Genève, Switzerland Your Excellency, The International Commission on Eritrean Refugees would like to express its gratitude of your Excellency’s visit to the Shagarab refugee camp, the largest in the
January 16, 2012
The United Nations High Commissioner
The International Commission on Eritrean Refugees would like to express its gratitude of your Excellency’s visit to the Shagarab refugee camp, the largest in the Sudan and perhaps the first to be established by the UNHCR in late 1960s. The human tragedy that is unfolding in that part of the world is indeed a challenge to all of us and in particular to the UNHCR which is in the forefront of mitigating the suffering of the unfortunate souls uprooted from their homeland. This unprecedented flow of people from Eritrea to the Sudan and Ethiopia and to some extent to the littoral states of the Red sea is estimated at 5,000 per month. With such large number of traumatized people one need to devise means to ensure their security and provide comfort in as much as possible. Instead, the refugees are subjected to intimidation, blackmail and worst to kidnapping by human traffickers where they are sold to as chattel for profit. We are hopeful that, your Excellency have taken notice of this and condemned it with the strongest possible term as inhuman practice. Your call for the Sudanese authorities and the inter-governmental organizations to take steps to address the human tragedy is right to the point.
We welcome your efforts to seek two millions dollars from donor countries “to research the trafficking and kidnapping issue, improve security in the refugee camps and develop local authorities’ ability to deal with the problem.” However, it should be followed with a comprehensive plan that addresses the protection needs of the new and forgotten Eritrean refugee populations in Sudan. We feel the world community has to pay its attention to the unfolding human suffering and must extend its hand until situation improves, that is the politico-social and economic conditions that are the primary cause of the exodus.
Once again we appreciate your effort of trying to solve the refugee crisis in Eritrea. Your Excellency’s visit to Eastern Sudan is testimony to that. In our part we stand by your side and are prepared to do what is required of us to address the human catastrophe unfolding in front of us. We have a network of members who have been closely working alongside victims of human trafficking and other refugees stranded in refugee camps and documenting their sufferings
Yebio Woldemariam, Ph.D
President, International Commission for