Marking World Refugee Day with South Sudanese refugees in Al Nimir camp in East Darfur State, UNHCR's Representative, Noriko Yoshida, called on the South Sudanese who fled to Sudan not to lose hope for the future.
Over 400,000 South Sudanese refugees have fled to Sudan since December 2013. Many have faced harsh circumstances on their journeys to find safety in Sudan.
Speaking to refugees in Al Nimir camp, Yoshida said: "Today, I am asking you to believe in the future. You must not lose hope that peace will return to South Sudan and that you will finally be able to return home. Until such a time comes, we will do our best – UNHCR and Sudan - to stand with you".
She urged refugees: "Strive to create new opportunities in the places you have settled in. I urge you to continue to contribute positively to Sudan while respecting its laws. UNHCR's experience demonstrates that refugees bring a positive contribution. I am sure South Sudanese in Sudan refugees will prove this true".
Yoshida thanked local host communities in Sudan, their leaders, state governors, and Sudan's authorities at all levels, including the Commission for Refugees: "Without your support and efforts, the lives of countless refugees would be much harder. Your generosity certainly does not go unnoticed", she said.
Yoshida has called for greater donor support for refugees in Sudan, specifically for host communities that have generously extended their assistance to new arrivals even with often limited resources.
She commended the Government of Sudan for working closely with UNHCR. She also praised the work of sister UN agencies, including WFP, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, and IOM for their contribution to the refugee response in Sudan.
Speaking in Al Nimir camp alongside the United States of America's most senior representative in Sudan, Steven Koutsis, she welcomed the support of the American people.
"America's presence here in Al Nimir camp on World Refugee Day is symbolic of the international community's stand with refugees. The American Government and its people have been a key contributor towards the UN High Commissioner's refugee programme globally, including support for refugees in Sudan for a long time. I sincerely thank you for your efforts on behalf of all refugees in Sudan", Yoshida said.
The United States of America is the largest contributor to UNHCR in Sudan having provided USD 28.4 million in 2017, including support for the response for South Sudanese refugees in states affected.