This morning (Nov 18, 2019) at 9:00 am Sudan time, frustrated refugees peacefully demonstrated in front of the Commissioner for Refugees office (COR) in the Shagarab Camp. They are fed up with the deplorable situations in the camp and lack of transparency in the manner refugee applications are being processed.
The refugees know as each day passes without any clear indication of how or when they will be reunited with their families only ads to mental and emotional suffering they are already facing. They decided the best course of action is to provide a list of demands to the Camp manager Mr. Abdein with hopes of change or at the very least, start a meaningful dialogue.
The demand letter presented to Mr. Abdein listed the following demands;
- Increase the number of daily interviews
- Provide physical or written proof of past interviewees to confirm refugee status.
- A letter of explanation verifying what agency is responsible for delaying refugee applications; UNHCR or COR.
The refugees made several attempts to present their letter of demand to the COR camp manager Mr. Abdein, in which it was dismissed.
In a time of crisis, it was very disheartening to see Mr. Abdein throw the refugee’s letter of demand on the ground and crushing the spirits and hopes of any meaningful dialogue. Mr. Abdein then demanded the refugees immediately return to their holding locations or face further incarceration.
Mr. Abdein showed no respect to the refugees and added insult to injury under the watchful eye of the UNHCR camp representative Musa Ahmed.
Mr. Abdein, then escorted five refugee representatives into his office to give a stern warning as to what will happen to them if they ever try to organize another demonstrate within the camp.
When the refugees peacefully ask that their plea for humanity be heard, Mr. Abdein called the military from Girba and Wedel Hilew to intervene.
In a matter of time, four armored trucks with full army personnel arrived at the refugee camp and threatened to inflict physical harm to the already emotional drained refugees. The members of the military used their presence to ensure the refugees within the camp removed themselves from the demonstration area.
It was by the grace of God no one was physically hurt from the demonstration which was encountered by the most inhumane response from the Camp management.
It’s a truly heartbreaking situation where a refugee has no value, no respect and ignored by humanitarian agencies and institutions. Where is the humanity and where are the principles of Geneva Conventions?
There are approximately 5000 refugees in the Shagarab Camp now, far beyond its capacity. That’s 5000 people whose lives do not matter!