Home | News    Tuesday 30 October 2007

UN shows concern over forced relocation of Darfur displaced

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October 29, 2007 (NEW YORK) – John Holmes, the U.N. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, expressed concern over forced relocation of displaced in South Darfur. He further said that it represents a violation of accords signed with Khartoum.

“I am alarmed about the reports of forced relocation last night from Otash camp in Nyala, South Darfur, both about the manner in which the relocations were apparently carried out and the possibility that such action could contribute to more violence,” said Holmes.

“We have had many meetings with the Government of Sudan, stressing that that any relocation should be voluntary and should adhere to the guiding principles of internal displacement,” Holmes added. “Given that security forces were threatening the displaced with sticks and rubber hoses at Otash camp, the involuntary nature of this relocation is clear, and is contrary to agreements with the Government,” he emphasized.

Tensions remain high between various groups throughout camps in Nyala. Kalma camp, the largest camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur, was recently the scene of clashes that claimed the lives of three civilians. Those IDPs just relocated from Otash had sought security there approximately one week ago, after fleeing violence in Kalma.

Otash camp is home to over 60,000 IDPs.

During the incident, the new Kalma IDPs were surrounded by the police. A joint United Nations/African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS)/International Organisation for Migration (IOM) team was denied access to the camp by the representative of the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC).

When they managed to enter the camp despite this prohibition, they observed 10 vehicles with heavy machine guns surrounding an IDP gathering while 8 large commercial trucks were loading the belongings of IDP women and children. The police informed the joint team that people were being moved to Amakassara.

All these concepts including relocation are guaranteed in the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the United Nations, IOM and the Government of Sudan in August and September 2004.

(ST)

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