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Western governments may pay price for inaction on war

Civil war and regional instability could drive refugees to EU, warns UN chief

The refugee crisis in Sudan and wider regional instability could prompt tens thousands of people to move north, trying to cross into Europe, Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has warned.

Since the civil war between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) led by General Abdel Fattah al Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group commanded by Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo 'Hemeti', more than 9 million people are reported to have been driven from their homes in Sudan; 1.5m people have fled into neighbouring countries (AC Vol 64 No 10, A war that hits everyone all at once).

'The Europeans are always so worried about people coming across the Mediterranean. Well, I have a warning for them that if they don't support more refugees coming out of Sudan, even displaced people inside Sudan, we will see onward movements of people towards Libya, Tunisia and across the Mediterranean,' Grandi said. 'There is no doubt.'

Grandi warned that the political and economic fragility in many of the states bordering Sudan is likely to encourage refugees to move toward northern countries like Tunisia and Egypt, from which to attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. 'When refugees go out and they don't receive enough assistance, they go further,' Grandi said.

Last week, the European Commission promised €117m (US$125m) in humanitarian aid to Chad and Sudan, where about 60% of the population is facing acute food insecurity.

Having spent much of the last decade overhauling its rules on immigration and asylum, the European Union has tried to outsource border management to North African states. The EU executive agreed a 'cash for migrant control' deal with Tunisia last July and is close to concluding a similar arrangement with Egypt.

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