By Misuk Moses Mule
JUBA, 04 May 2012 [Gurtong] - In a press statement, IOM raised concerns over the 5th May ultimatum given to South Sudanese at the Kosti camp.
“IOM is very concerned following an announcement by the Governor of Sudan's White Nile State that all international agencies, NGOs and South Sudanese currently waiting for transport in Kosti must leave by 5th May - less than a week from now,” the release stated.
The Government of Sudan, in its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of South Sudan on 12th February affirmed the commitment of both Governments that the movement of South Sudan nationals from Sudan to South Sudan "shall be voluntary and in peace and dignity".
The two Governments resolved "to work in cooperation with all other parties that work on the return in order to facilitate and assist in the return".
Although the MoU only formally applied until the end of the transition period on 8th April, the principles set out in it remain valid.
On 8th and 9th April the Government of Sudan made it clear that it would be tolerant towards South Sudanese unable to leave Sudan or unable get the necessary documentation to regularize their stay.
“IOM therefore urges the Government of Sudan to meet this commitment and to grant more time for the international community to work with Federal and State level authorities to help South Sudanese in Kosti, who have clearly manifested their wish to leave Sudan, to move to South Sudan in safety and dignity”.
Nevertheless, the organisation has raised concern that the close to 15,000 South Sudanese at the Kosti way station, 200 kilometres South of Khartoum, have been waiting for many months for transport to South Sudan.