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Diplomacy in Action

Mission to Chad and Sudan


Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
December 2, 2010

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Dear Friends and Colleagues:

From November 14 through November 23, I traveled to Chad and Sudan to review the State Department’s humanitarian programs and humanitarian contingency planning. I was accompanied by Chris Upchurch and Liz Drew of PRM’s Washington staff, and received great support from several control officers in our posts in both countries: Michael Zorick, our Regional Refugee Coordinator in Chad; and Jayshree Balasubramanian (in Khartoum), and Scott Duncan (in Juba).

Chad: In Chad, PRM provides support for some 270,000 Darfuri refugees in the east, as well as approximately 65,000 Central African refugees in the south, and 150,000 Chadian internally displaced people (IDPs) in the east. Through a range of UN and non-governmental organization partners, we have provided about $50 million annually for basic protection and assistance, including shelter, education, health, and programs to address gender based violence. I traveled to the Treguine Camp near the border, home to about 17,000 Darfuri refugees. Water is scarce and security conditions make access difficult, but efforts we and others support make conditions livable. I was particularly impressed by a PRM-funded education program for refugee boys and girls, in which our implementing partners worked with Sudanese Ministry of Education officials in the administration of national exams to the students. Sudanese diplomas will obviously be an important asset when conditions permit the return of refugees to Darfur.

Date: 11/23/2010 Description: e visited several locations like this one in Juba, where registration for the referendum was underway.  - State Dept Image

I met with a group of secondary school students at a State Department-funded school in Treguine Camp.
The class had about the same number of girls as boys. 
November 15, 2010

Our major concern is security for the refugees, particularly in the aftermath of the withdrawal of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) peacekeeping mission. In ending this mission at the behest of the Government of Chad, the UN Security Council expressed support for international efforts to strengthen Chad’s Integrated Security Detachment (the DIS), a special force that has worked with MINURCAT to provide protection around the camps in the east. Based on our deep concern about security for the refugees and the humanitarian organizations that assist them, we have supported the DIS, and I stressed with Chadian officials and UN representatives the importance of reaching agreement on a UN-sponsored program of ongoing support for training and equipment for the force.

Finally, I discussed the upcoming referendum on southern Sudanese independence with both the Foreign Minister, Moussa Faki, and the General Secretary of the Presidency, Mahamet Saleh Annadif. I described the very substantial Administration efforts to promote a peaceful and successful outcome, and added that the Chadians had a role to play in encouraging Khartoum to act responsibly.

   Date: 11/10/2010 Description: I met with a group of secondary school students at a State Department-funded school in Treguine Camp.  The class had about the same number of girls as boys.    - State Dept Image   

I met with a group of secondary school students at a State Department-funded school in Treguine Camp. 
The class had about the same number of girls as boys.
November 15, 2010

Sudan: Over several days, our delegation was in Khartoum, North Darfur, and Juba, and we visited several sites where IDPs are living – both in Khartoum (where southern IDPs are located) and Darfur.

With PRM expenditures of about $60 million in Sudan this year, we support a wide range of humanitarian programs: assisting southern Sudanese returned refugees; supporting Government of Sudan efforts to provide refuge for Eritrean refugees in eastern Sudan; aiding refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA); Ethiopian refugees in the south; and, of course, supporting protection and assistance for Darfuris. In addition, Sudan is one of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) highest priority countries, and USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Food for Peace (FFP) program provide significant humanitarian funds as part of an overall U.S. government approach.

During the visit, we considered a number of ways we might sharpen our programs to achieve durable solutions for both displaced Sudanese and refugees in Sudan.

I also discussed with a range of individuals and organizations the status of humanitarian planning in the run-up to the January 9 referendum on independence for the south. Of course, the Administration is now doing everything possible to advance a peaceful process that promotes reconciliation, but additional humanitarian requirements are likely to emerge in the weeks ahead, and the international community must be in position to help. In fact, tens of thousands of southerners have already traveled from Khartoum to the south over the past many weeks, imposing substantial humanitarian demands on southern authorities and international organizations.

Finally, I felt it important to travel to Darfur, to reaffirm continued U.S. concern for human rights and humanitarian issues, as well as our commitment to a durable and inclusive political settlement. I met in Khartoum with the Federal Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner, Dr. Suleiman Abdelrahman, and urged his government to take positive action on access to Darfur for international humanitarian organizations. I also encouraged the authorities to work closely with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure scrupulous respect for protection principles – including the principle of voluntariness – in any return of IDPs to their home areas or resettlement sites. Finally, I expressed deep concern about abuses of civilians in the context of conflict, and urged respect for international humanitarian law. These concerns are all the more important in view of the fact that killings have more than doubled in Darfur between 2009 and 2010. And while much of the recent killing has involved inter-communal conflict, serious abuses by government or government-affiliated forces have continued.

  Date: 11/23/2010 Description: We visited several locations like this one in Juba, where registration for the referendum was underway.  - State Dept Image  

We visited several locations like this one in Juba, where registration for the referendum was underway.
November 23, 2010

The Chad-Sudan region, with its inter-connected conflicts and refugee flows, is a critical concern for PRM as it is for so many agencies in the humanitarian community that have worked so long and so hard to help bring solutions to vulnerable populations. As the Sudan referendum approaches, we will work assiduously to ensure the protection and well-being of civilian populations.

Many thanks, and kind regards,
Eric Schwartz
Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration



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