Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sudan refugees leave Iraq for Romania: UNHCR

GENEVA (AFP) — Nearly 100 Sudanese refugees mainly from Darfur have left a makeshift camp in the Iraqi desert for Romania as part of a resettlement programme, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday.

Under a deal struck between the Jordanian and Romanian governments, 97 refugees were now on route to Romania, where they will be housed in an emergency transit centre in Timisoara pending resettlement, said the UNHCR.

Another 42 Sudanese refugees in Iraq are expected to follow them next month, the UNHCR said.

They "fear returning to their country, where they would find themselves in a situation of internal displacement," it added.

The 97 refugees fled Sudan in the late 1980s, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement.

But their situation worsened dramatically in Iraq after the US-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003, when they suffered "abuse, blackmail, eviction and assaults."

The refugees had previously tried to flee Iraq after some of them were killed in attacks by insurgent groups between December 2004 and February 2005.

But they ended up stranded in the K-70 camp, in the desert outside Al Rutbah, 75 kilometres east of the Jordanian border.

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