European Union External Action

EU actions on Migration in Sudan

Bruxelles, 08/06/2018 - 08:18, UNIQUE ID: 171017_14

Sudan is an important hub for migrants from across Africa. As a country of origin, transit and destination, it lies at the heart of migratory routes connecting East and West Africa to the Mediterranean Sea and Europe, the Gulf States and Southern Africa.


Sudan is also the 2nd largest refugee hosting country in Africa[1] and notably due to its ongoing internal conflicts has the 2nd largest population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) on the continent, estimated at 3.2 million.[2] Around 7.1 million people in Sudan, including many refugees, asylum seekers and IDPs, are in need of humanitarian assistance. The EU's engagement on migration in Sudan is therefore vital, particularly for the benefit of the people in Sudan and the wider region.


For decades, the EU has assisted refugees and IDPs in Sudan. Building on this support, EU's current engagement aims at:

  • providing durable solutions for refugees, IDPs and host communities by increasing their protection and supporting their long-term development;
  • increasing stability in peripheral areas, which are also major migratory routes by strengthening the resilience of communities;
  • improving migration management by contributing to disrupt networks of traffickers and smugglers, affording protection to their victims and offering opportunities for their voluntary return and reintegration into their countries of origin.


Cooperation on migration is part of a broader EU engagement in Sudan. A human rights-based approach is at the heart of all EU interventions. The EU leads efforts to promote respect for human rights and a conducive environment for civil society in Sudan which is an essential part of the country's political transformation. The EU also supports to the peace process in Sudan led by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP). Besides being an important provider of development assistance (e.g. health, education, livelihoods) in Sudan, the EU is also instrumental in supplying humanitarian aid to people in need.

EU-Sudan relations continue to be impacted by the action of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the country's decision not to ratify the revised Cotonou Agreement. The latter means that the EU does not provide any financial support to the Government of Sudan. All EU funded activities in Sudan are implemented by EU Member States development agencies, international organisations, NGOs and private sector entities.

In 2016, the EU established a High-Level Dialogue on Migration with Sudan with the aim to curb human trafficking and smuggling of migrants and to protect the rights of all migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and victims of trafficking. The dialogue enables the EU to raise issues of concern with the Sudanese authorities, including respect of the principle of non-refoulement and reflects the priorities put forward at the 2015 Valletta Summit on Migration. Sudan is also an active member of the Khartoum Process, a platform for political cooperation and regional collaboration on migration amongst the countries along the migration route between the Horn of Africa and Europe.


The EU does not provide any direct financial support to the Government of Sudan. Instead it supports a range of projects for the benefit of the people in the country.

The Special Measure is contributing to these objectives by enhancing the quality and access to healthcare (e.g. Strengthening Resilience of IDPs, Returnees and Host Communities in West Darfur), education (e.g. Education Quality Improvement Programme), and jobs (e.g. Fostering Smallholder Capacities and Access to Markets), by increasing food security and nutrition standards (e.g. Improving Nutrition and Reducing Stunting in Eastern Sudan project). Sudan is also part of the EU response to the food security and El Niño crises and of the Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP) for the Horn of Africa.

Sudan also benefits from several EU Emergency Trust fund For Africa's regional projects, such as:

A regional project Addressing Mixed Migration Flows in East Africa (AMMF) improves the self-reliance of displaced persons and host communities, supports the establishment of safe centres for migrants and reinforces the fight against trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

The Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) addresses root causes of instability by supporting peacebuilding and stabilisation in Sudan e.g. through encouraging mediation and dialogue or promoting equitable access to and transparent management of natural resources.

People in Sudan also benefit from EU humanitarian aid, which includes support to refugees, IDPs and local communities in forced displacement contexts to ensure life-saving emergency assistance focusing on basic services such as health, water and shelter as well as protection and food security. These funds are implemented directly by international NGOs, international organisations or UN agencies. The assistance follows a needs-based approach and targets the most vulnerable. In 2017, the EU provided €46 million to respond to humanitarian needs in Sudan.


  • No EU direct financial support goes to the Government of Sudan. This means that no EU funding is decentralised nor channelled through the Government. All activities are carried out by EU Member States development agencies, international organisations, NGOs and private sector entities. The EU's implementing partners maintain full control over the funds disbursed and are closely scrutinised by the EU Delegation through strict and regular monitoring during projects' implementation.
  • The Rapid Support Forces of the Sudanese military do not benefit directly or indirectly from EU funding.
  • The EU does not equip Sudanese border forces with dual-use equipment. Any decisions to provide civilian equipment to the Sudanese authorities are taken on the basis of thorough case-by-case assessment carried out by the EU, following a stringent procurement process and on the basis of comprehensive procurement principles.[3] No military equipment can be provided due to the arms embargo in place.
  • The EU does not assist or fund the Government of Sudan or other relevant agencies in creating detention facilities for migrants.



[1] Estimated at 925,000 according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

[2] According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

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