Australian humanitarian support for refugees in South Sudan and Ethiopia

Media release

28 January 2013

Australia has committed $5 million to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to provide food, medical assistance, water, shelter and protection for up to 245,000 refugees fleeing Sudan due to ongoing violence.

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Richard Marles announced the assistance while visiting villages along the border between Sudan and South Sudan.

"Many of those who have fled are arriving in refugee camps suffering from dehydration and malnourishment and without the most basic possessions," Mr Marles said.

"Our funds will be used by UNHCR where it is needed most, to assist these most vulnerable people.

"Part of Australia's assistance will support UNHCR in four refugee camps in South Sudan and three refugee camps in Ethiopia, where around 140,000 refugees are temporarily settled."

Mr Marles said Australia condemned the violence affecting civilians in Blue Nile, South Kordofan and elsewhere in border regions between Sudan and South Sudan.

"Australia recognises that unresolved disputes between Sudan and South Sudan are exacerbating tension in border regions, including in Blue Nile and South Kordofan. We commend the two countries for reaching important agreements in September last year, under the auspices of the African Union's High Level Implementation Panel. We now call on both sides to implement these agreements as a matter of urgency, as agreed by President Al Bashir and President Kiir in early January 2013.

"As a member of the UN Security Council in 2013 and 2014, Australia will work with our partners on the Council and remain closely engaged on the challenges facing Sudan and South Sudan."

Australia has provided more than $198 million in humanitarian and development assistance in Sudan and South Sudan since 2004. Australia has committed up to 25 Australian Defence Force personnel and 10 Australian Federal Police to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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