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UNAMID, OHCHR urges Sudan to focus on Darfur displaced civilians

Newly displaced persons (IDPs) camp outside UNAMID Team Site in Sortoni, North Darfur, on February 8, 2016 (Photo UNAMID)
November 21, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese government has to improve security, humanitarian and human rights situation of displaced people in Darfur as the end of armed clashes creates conducive conditions to engage in effective, and durable policies said a joint UN report released on Tuesday.

From January 2014 to December 2016 the hybrid peacekeeping operation (UNAMID) documented 1,286 allegations of human rights abuses and violations against 3,358 victims, including 2,108 women and 299 children.

Over 80% of the reported attacks on civilians took place as women undertook daily livelihood activities, such as collecting water and firewood.

A joint report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Right (OHCHR) and the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) released in Geneva has called on the Sudanese Government to pursue "effective, transparent and durable policies" to enable the 2.6 million IDPs to return home voluntarily or to reintegrate into host communities.

The report underlines that the attacks on displaced civilians continue to occur with impunity despite a ceasefire between the Government and various armed opposition groups which has largely held since June 2016.

“I urge the Government to address fundamental issues that are preventing the return of displaced people, such as continued violence, including from armed militias, which raise continuing and justifiable fears for their safety and the lack of basic services that leave them dependent on aid,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

The report says there has been less displacement during the first 10 months of 2017 but indicates that 8,200 people were newly displaced across Darfur this year, as a result of inter-communal violence and attacks by pro-government militias.

"The inadequate presence and, in some cases, (an) outright absence of law enforcement and judicial institutions in areas where IDPs have settled has led to serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law," points the report.

Further, the report says despite the efforts done by the state governments, "the underlying causes of such conflict, remain unaddressed". Also, it underscores that Government policies resulting in negligible investment in public services and the creation of social and economic opportunities, which leaves IDPs dependent on aid and limit their enjoyment of economic and social rights.

In order to create an enabling and safe environment for the return of IDPs, the OHCHR and UNMAID urged the Sudanese government to conduct a comprehensive disarmament of armed militias but also hold "extensive consultations with IDPs to ensure that their return and reintegration are carried out in full respect of their rights".

“The cessation of hostilities has provided the opportunity to focus on the situation of IDPs, which is so crucial to achieving peace. I urge the Government of Sudan to implement key elements set out in the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, and renew my call to all parties to fully engage in efforts to bring lasting peace to Darfur,” said UNAMID Joint Special Representative Jeremiah Mamabolo.

(ST)