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UNAMID’s local staff protest in four Darfur capitals over unpaid dues

UNAMID local staff members protest in El-Fasher over non-payement of entitlements on 28 July 2016 (ST Photo)

December 5, 2016 (EL-FASHER) - Dozens of former local staff of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) have protested on Monday in front of the mission’s premises in four capitals in Darfur for non-payment of financial dues owed to them since 2010.

The former employees held peaceful protests at the UNAMID’s headquarters in El-Fasher, North Darfur state capital besides the mission’s premises in Nyala, South Darfur state capital, El-Geniena, West Darfur state capital and Zalingei, Central Darfur state capital.

Chairman of the Dismissed Staff Committee, Hafiz Abiad, told Sudan Tribune on Monday that his committee represents 263 Sudanese staff who were dismissed and their financial rights denied in Nayla, Zalngei, El-Geniena and El-Fasher.

He pointed that the protesting staff demanded to be paid their pensions’ entitlements which was agreed on with UNAMID in March, saying the mission didn’t recognize some of their rights.

Abiad added the mission didn’t honor its previous commitments, saying UNAMID came here to protect human rights but it is now “robbing and violating human rights”.

“All dismissed staff should receive the overtime pay benefits that were rejected by the mission,” he added.

He added that they made a complaint to a court within the United Nations to demand the overtime pay, saying the court asked them to provide a document proving their claim of the previous financial rights.

“We sent the document and we are still waiting [for the court’s decision]," he said.

Abiad further accused the personnel department at the UNAMID of concealing the document which included their demands for overtime pay.

He pointed that the security services dispersed the protest after 4 fours and asked them to meet with the North Darfur governor to discuss the issue.

In February, former local staff of UNAMID in North and Central Darfur states organized peaceful protests in El-Fasher and Zalingei to demand financial dues, which the mission refused to recognize.

In March, UNAMID dismissed media reports that the mission deliberately refused to pay the financial dues of Sudanese staff whose jobs were cancelled to cut expenses.

“In meetings between UNAMID’s Human Resources Section and concerned staff members, prior to their separation from the mission, the issue of compensation for overtime services performed was discussed thoroughly,” explained UNAMID in statement issued in March.

The mission’s statement further noted that since most of the concerned staff members had performed overtime work and had not availed of compensatory leave due to them, “the mission’s management decided that they would receive cash remuneration for their overtime hours in lieu of compensatory time off”.

The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in the western Sudan’s region.

It is the world’s second largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops.

(ST)