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IOM Deeply Concerned about Fate of South Sudanese Waiting for Transport in Kosti

By International Office of Migration (IOM)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, May 1, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM is very concerned following an announcement by the Governor of Sudan's White Nile State that all international agencies, NGOs and South Sudanese currently waiting for transport in Kosti must leave by May 5th - less than a week from now.

There are currently 12-15,000 South Sudanese at the Kosti way station, 200 kms south of Khartoum, many of whom have been waiting many months for transport to South Sudan.

All are dependent on assistance from the international community for food, water, health care and other essential services and most do not have the means to arrange transportation for themselves to South Sudan.

They cannot be left to fend for themselves, and the international community does not have the logistical capacity to move them all out of Kosti by the 5th May deadline.

The Government of Sudan, in its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of South Sudan of 12th February, affirmed the commitment of both Governments that the movement of South Sudan nationals from Sudan to South Sudan "shall be voluntary and in peace and dignity."

The two Governments resolved "to work in cooperation with all other parties that work on the return in order to facilitate and assist in the return."

Although the MoU only formally applied until the end of the transition period on April 8th, the principles set out in it remain valid.

On April 8th and 9th the Government of Sudan made clear that it would be tolerant towards South Sudanese unable to leave Sudan or unable get the necessary documentation to regularize their stay.

IOM therefore urges the Government of Sudan to meet this commitment and to grant more time for the international community to work with Federal and State level authorities to help South Sudanese in Kosti, who have clearly manifested their wish to leave Sudan, to move to South Sudan in safety and dignity.