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Sudan: Asylum

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) levels of internal conflict within the Central African Republic and (b) the impact of the conflict in Darfur on security and numbers of refugees in the Republic. (124701)

The UK is concerned over the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR). We were pleased to see reports of the peace agreement made on 2 February between President Bozize and various rebel groups operating in the CAR, which provides for an immediate cessation of hostilities. We hope that this will promote the advance of national reconciliation and the agreement of a comprehensive accord to be signed by all the national stakeholders.

The CAR suffers from internal conflict and from the impact of instability in the region. The UK will continue to work with the UN and other member states to determine how the deployment of a peacekeeping force to Chad and the CAR could best improve security in the region.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the number who have (a) died, (b) become internally displaced and (c) become refugees into neighbouring countries as a result of the conflict in Sudan. (124850)

There are no reliable figures for the number of persons that have died across Darfur as a result of the conflict. However, a frequently-quoted, and plausible, figure is 200,000. An estimated 2 million people have been displaced in Darfur and a further 2 million remained displaced as a result of the earlier conflict between the north and south; though many of the latter are now returning. As a result of the Darfur conflict there are 233,000 Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad. There are 340,000 refugees from southern Sudan in neighbouring countries.

Every death and every displacement in Sudan is a tragedy. We call on all sides to cease the violence in Darfur immediately, to renew the political process and accept the African Union/UN peacekeeping force for Darfur.