Conflicts In Sudan Is Making Migrant Routes More Dangerous, Says UN Agency

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A new report by the UN Refugee Agency has warned that conflicts in Sudan and across the Sahel region have compromised protection for migrants crossing from sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN agency said for the hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants attempting to cross from sub-Saharan African countries to Europe, the journey is an extremely dangerous one.

Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean Situation, Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR said the migration routes are all the more dangerous due to the lack of critical services.

“Our capacity to partner directly with local authorities is missing.

“But the local authorities are there and they would be able to provide those immediate protection services,” he said.

The UN report added that, despite the location of major migration hubs being known, there remains a lack of migrants’ access to immediate assistance, shelter, or information about the dangers they may face

This absence of protection measures according to the UNHCR placed refugees and migrants “at great risk of harm and death” and also triggered dangerous secondary onward movements.

The agency noted that the African migrants on the move come from Asia and the Middle East, adding that many underestimate the risks and dangers and many die while crossing the desert or near borders.

UNHCR said most migrants suffer serious human rights violations, including sexual violence, kidnappings, torture and physical abuse.

“Many don’t go to capital cities where humanitarian actors are based and well represented,” Cochetel told journalists in Geneva.

“They embark on secondary routes, reaching smaller cities in hard-to-reach areas” including in the Sahara Desert.

“This is where services should be located.”

He noted that with the right level of funding, supported services could provide immediate humanitarian assistance, shelter, referral mechanisms, information on the dangers involved in embarking on hazardous journeys, and access to justice.